1.19.2009

Concert Experience: "We Are One" for Barack Obama

by Melissa Mahfouz
Special to iVoryTowerz

Imagine the Super Bowl complete with snipers, people in business attire, and elderly women gyrating to oldies such as "Shout." I am still attempting to comprehend what exactly it was that I witnessed at the "We Are One" concert staged at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday, Jan. 18. (The concert was also cablecast on HBO, which has continually provided repeat plays since the live event and access to the concert online.) Perhaps eclectic would best describe the frenzy that surrounded the star-studded concert for the soon-to-be 44th president of the United States. I was left speechless. All the words that come to mind to describe this moment only provide a grave injustice to this symbolically historic event. I didn't mind looking like the Michelin tire logo to stay warm, nor did I mind undulating back and forth in the D.C. Metro among swarms of Obama-maniacs, because I was there. I was there.

Standing there, huddled among the masses congregated around national symbols put this experience into perspective. Something was in the air. Regardless of age, it was impossible to restrain oneself from shouting to the nostalgic "American Pie," or moving to the rhythm of "City of Blinding Light." Take the 60s music era, synchronize it with Dr. King's March on Washington, and you have a taste of the atmospheric vibrancy surrounding this concert. Denzel Washington, Martin Luther King III, Shakira, Forrest Whitaker, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Jamie Foxx, Usher, Beyoncé, U2, Garth Brooks, Tom Hanks, Sheryl Crow, and Josh Groban awed the crowds, among other prominent artists and political figures.

Despite the plethora of renowned artists, Hollywood stars, and D.C. elite present, by no means was any attention dispersed from the main focus: President-elect Barack Obama. If his face appeared on screen, even for what seemed to be half of a millisecond, the crowd would respond. Smiles, laughs, and cheers resonated across the hundreds of thousands of spectators as Obama and his family appeared swaying to the beat of "One Love." One definite conclusion can be made: Obama can move. For those hesitant about his qualifications, find solace in the fact that the man has rhythm. Music truly is a source of human expression, and the euphoria emanating throughout this inaugural concert for Obama was invigorating for the spirit and left spectators with a true sense of "We Are One."

(The photo of the "We Are One" concert is from acaben of Washington, D.C. via Flickr, using a Creative Commons license. To see U2 perform "City of Blinding Lights" from the concert, please check below.)











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