As George W. Bush moves into the White House, he’ll receive house-warming gifts in the form of performances by such artists as Texans ZZ Top, Lyle Lovett and Clint Black as well as pop stars Ricky Martin and Destiny’s Child.
The festivities kick off January 18 at the Lincoln Memorial, where Martin will perform “The Cup of Life.”
“I am honored to be a part of the first inaugural celebration of the 21st century,” Martin said in a statement. Van Morrison, Destiny’s Child and Andrew Lloyd Webber will also perform that night.
Meanwhile, ZZ Top will headline a private party across town that evening billed as the Best Little Ball in D.C.
“‘That little ol’ band from Texas’ is excited and delighted to be invited to perform [and] celebrate the inauguration,” ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons said. “We’re going to bring a rock ‘n’ Bush night to D.C., Texas style.”
It’s not the first time the president-elect has crossed paths with the group — on May 15, 1997, then-Governor Bush honored the band by declaring it ZZ Top Day in a special ceremony.
On January 19 the Texas State Society will throw its Black Tie & Boots Ball, forgoing traditional big-band music in favor of country stars Lovett, Black with Lisa Hartman, Marcia Ball, Reckless Kelly and Asleep at the Wheel, Tanya Tucker, Mark Chesnutt, and Lee Greenwood, who also played at the elder George Bush’s inaugural.
“I’ve been with the Bush family for many years. They called, and I’m coming,” Greenwood said. “There’s just so much pageantry, it’s really wonderful to be a part of it.”
Western swing band Asleep at the Wheel played at Bill Clinton’s first inauguration. Guitarist Ray Benson said the worst part about playing such shows is the tight security — their drummer was sequestered by the Secret Service, and they didn’t find him until they were nearly ready to play.
“Washington, D.C., is its own Hollywood,” Benson said. “Between the security measures and the pecking order sometimes the bands get lost. We’re usually the top of the heap and now we’re backseat to these politicians.”
As for whether he’s excited that a fellow Texan is going to be in the White House, Benson said, “I’m keeping my vote a secret, but no matter who you voted for, he’s our president. Whether I agree with him or not, I will show him the respect the office deserves. … For us, it’s a Texas thing.”
On January 20, Bush will be sworn in at the Capitol building, followed by a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue featuring six U.S. military bands and 38 school and other marching bands.
That evening, several venues around town will be throwing big parties, including the Hard Rock Cafe. The lineup for their bash, co-sponsored by the Recording Industry Association of America, has not been finalized yet, a spokesperson for the restaurant said.