Today is a day for the history books. At 12:00pm Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be in DC right now, but the mood in North Carolina is absolutely electric. My band, The Beast just played a sold out show celebrating the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. and, well, the United States of America. The show was packed with ecstatic Obama supporters, many of whom played an important role in turning North Carolina into a blue state this year. Our show was one of hundreds of celebrations taking place here in NC and one of the tens of thousands of events taking place in the United States and internationally. I’ve been told that bars in DC will be open 24 hours all week. All week! Folk in the District have been taking full advantage of free performances from Bruce Springsteen, U2, Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock, as well as historic political readings from Jamie Foxx, Denzel Washington and Queen Latifah and live telecasts from Oprah, CNN and MTV. Instead of being on the edge of their seats, it seems as if the world is out of their chairs and partying like it’s 1999 in preparation for this afternoon’s historic inauguration. While exact figures are uncertain, CNN reports that 1 million to 2 million attendees are expected for the inauguration, and tens of thousands of police officers, federal agents and National Guardsmen are being deployed in an unprecedented effort to ensure that the inauguration of the 44th president runs safely and smoothly. Also unprecedented is the reported $50 to $150 million budget for this year’s inauguration – the most expensive in history. I take solace in the knowledge that even in these harsh economic times, Americans still know how to splurge on a good party.
If you’re not too hung over, President Obama’s inauguration speech is at 12:05pm this afternoon. Don’t miss it!