Crowd roused by Obama, U2 and Stevie Wonder at Washington concert
It was a party planner’s dream line-up: Stevie Wonder, U2, Mary J. Blige, Beyonce and Bruce Springsteen kicked off Obama’s pre-inauguration weekend with a rousing, glitzy concert in Washington.
Thousands of people desperate to be part of a historic moment flocked to the National Mall – under the marble glare of former US president Abraham Lincoln – to see the stars perform and Barack Obama address the crowds at the We Are One concert, one in a series of special events leading up to his swearing-in as the 44th US president on Tuesday.
Screams of support rang out for Barack and Michelle Obama as they made their way down the Lincoln Memorial steps.
In his emotional speech, Obama stated: ‘In the course of our history, only a handful of generations have been asked to confront challenges as serious as the ones we face right now. Our nation is at war. Our economy is in crisis.
‘[But] you came here because you believe in what this country can be and because you want to help us get there.
‘There is no obstacle that can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change.’
He added: ‘Despite the enormity of the task that lies ahead – I stand here today as hopeful as ever that the United States of America will endure – that the dream of our founders will live on in our time.’
A-list stars like Samuel L. Jackson and Beyonce also took to the podium to rally the crowds in support of Obama.
SEE BEYONCE PERFORMING AT WE ARE ONE HERE:
Today, America is holding a national holiday – Martin Luther King Day – honouring the assassinated civil rights leader – on the eve of the inauguration of the first black US president.
Mr Obama, Vice-President-elect Joe Biden and their families will take part in activities in Washington aimed at encouraging others to help their communities.
On Saturday, Mr Obama retraced the steps of former US President Abraham Lincoln, travelling by train from Philadelphia to Washington.
The 137-mile journey began at Philadelphia’s 30th Street station, where Obama said he would be carrying the hopes of ordinary Americans with him to Washington.