Opening the show from the Hilton Washington, the night’s host, Sway, reminded everyone that after an exhausting first day, it was time to celebrate President Barack Obama’s historic inauguration.
[artist id="1230523"]Kanye West[/artist] kicked off the show with a medley of hits like “Touch the Sky,” “Stronger” and “Good Life.” “Let’s make some noise for our new president, Obama,” he told the crowd. “It feels so good to be standing here. My mama would be so proud to see her baby boy performing the #1 song in the country for our new African-American president.”
Later in the night, he joked, “I still can’t believe it. I feel like I’m in the future — first iPods, now this!”
All Kanye-related accolades aside, the night really belonged to President Barack Obama, who dazzled the 7,000 party goers with a heartfelt speech about how thankful he is for the work the young people put in to get him elected.
“I’ve been looking forward to this ball for quite some time because, when you look at the history of this campaign, what started out as an improbable journey, when nobody gave us a chance, was carried forward, was energized by young people all across America,” he told the room as the crowd shouted, “Yes, we can,” before he and first lady Michelle Obama took the stage for their first “old school” dance to an instrumental version of “At Last.”
But, the party didn’t end with a dance by the first couple. Even after the president left, everyone wanted to keep the celebration going. [artist id="1235716"]Fall Out Boy[/artist] performed a few hits like “Dance, Dance,” but after they played “Thnks fr th Mmrs,” bassist Pete Wentz joked, “We felt like we needed to play a song for George Bush.”
“It’s mind-blowing. It’s one of those things where it’s such an amazing experience — just being in his presence is amazing,” Wentz later gushed about meeting the president.
[artist id="1235716"]Kid Rock[/artist] played an acoustic version of “Amen.” “Can you feel that?” he asked the crowd. “God bless you all.” Guest reporters [movieperson id="166719"]Rosario Dawson[/movieperson] and [artist id="1270"]Usher[/artist] were on hand, along with celebrities like [artist id="968"]Beastie Boy[/artist] Adam Yauch, [movieperson id="91412"]Demi Moore[/movieperson], [movieperson id="208080"]Ashton Kutcher[/movieperson], Kid Rock and [artist id="2990655"]Santogold[/artist]. “I mean, after eight years of Bush, we just wanted to do everything we could to try and help,” Yauch said. Meanwhile, [movieperson id="164707"]Tobey Maguire[/movieperson] proclaimed, “This is a party.”
But the night wasn’t just about partying — it was also about community service, and MTV was in New Orleans, Kenya and Washington, D.C., to track the progress of several community-service projects. MTV caught up with volunteers across the globe helping to make a difference and change people’s lives for the better.
MTV Tr3s VJ Carlos Santos was in New Orleans — along with a group of volunteers — helping rebuild homes for people like the Albers family, who lost their homes in Hurricane Katrina. Tim Kash was in Kenya to help construct a computer lab for kids who have never seen a computer before. Meanwhile, Kim Stolz worked at Simon Elementary in Washington, D.C., to give the school a makeover and build two new libraries for the students.
“To see all this going on is amazing,” Shaquanda, 19, who volunteered at Simon Elementary School, told MTV News about the chance to volunteer and make a difference during this historic time in American history.
Watch “Be the Change: Live From the Inaugural” online now, and come back Thursday for the full performances from Kanye West, Kid Rock and Fall Out Boy. Stick with us for wall-to-wall coverage of the inauguration and of the scenes in Washington, D.C., New Orleans and Kenya.