Inauguration Concert: Donald Trump Tells Crowd ‘You Are Not Forgotten Anymore’

Donald Trump inauguration concert
David J. Phillip/AP/REX/Shutterstock

President-elect Donald Trump’s inaugural festivities began in earnest on Thursday with a live concert at the Lincoln Memorial, where Toby Keith, Lee Greenwood and Jon Voight were on the bill. The event — officially called the Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration — was also streamed online.

“There’s never been a movement like this, and it’s something very special,” Trump said at the end of the event, which he watched from the steps of the memorial along with his wife Melania and the rest of his family.

Speaking to the crowd lined up toward the Washington Monument, Trump spoke of his unlikely campaign and victory, and pladged that he “will get it turned around.” He was referring to his appeal to disaffected working class supporters, and he told them, “You are not forgotten anymore.”

Although Trump suggested that a Lincoln Memorial concert had never been done for an inaugural before, it has: President Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton each had celebrations at the steps of the monument, designed in a neo classical style by Henry Bacon as a temple to democracy. After a fireworks display that spelled “USA,” Trump and his family stood before the statue of Lincoln, and stared in silence for a few moments.

Voight opened the concert, telling the crowds gathered that “we have all been witness to a very grueling year and half for the president elect.” Voight said at the outset. He added that “we all wondered if God could reverse the barrage of negative lies” made about Trump during the campaign.


Mike Pence Donald Trump

Inauguration Schedule: Times & Events for President-Elect Donald Trump

“He certainly didn’t need this job, and yes, God answered all of our prayers, because here it is. We will be part of history. All of us,” Voight told the crowd, who stretched down the National Mall along the reflecting pool toward the Washington Monument.

He referred to the monument behind him and said that Lincoln would be smiling at the moment, knowing “America will be saved by an honest and good man who will work for all the people.”

Then Sam Moore, best known for “Soul Man,” sang “America the Beautiful” with a choir backup and asked the crowd to join with him. DJ RaviDrums opened the concert, and later performed as a group called to Rocket Bots danced on stage. The Army Fife and Drum Corps appeared at several points as other artists did their setup on the makeshift stage.

About 20 minutes into the concert, Trump and his wife Melania walked down the steps of the Memorial as recorded music of the Rolling Stones’ “Heart of Stone.” They then took their seats with the rest of the Trump family.

Trump’s claim that no other inaugural concert had been held at the memorial was puzzling, as just a cursory Google search links to video of past events. Eight years ago, when Obama was first inaugurated, the lineup included Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Pete Seeger, U2 and James Taylor, along with historical readings by Tom Hanks, Jamie Foxx, Ashley Judd and Denzel Washington, among others. The lineup was so long that artists only sang one song, rather than perform a group of their hits.

The crowds also were greater in 2009, as the throng of concert-goers reached the grounds surrounding the Washington Monument. Some estimates put the attendance at 400,000. There was no immediate estimate of the attendance at the Trump event, even though he claimed that “they never had so many people” at the memorial.

Much focus had been paid during Trump’s transition as to who he would line up for the ceremony, given the lopsided support that Hillary Clinton enjoyed among musicians and other artists. Sources say that a number of Trump associates and friends reached out, including Steve Wynn, to many in the industry to perform, but a number of entertainers balked. Showbiz figures such as Garth Brooks, Celine Dion and Elton John reportedly declined invites, and Jennifer Holliday, announced last week as one of the performers, dropped out of the event on Saturday. She cited negative reaction from some of her fans.

Also performing for Trump at the event were the Frontmen of Country — Tim Rushlow, Larry Stewart and Richie McDonald, all chart-topping country singers who did a medley of some of their hits. Rushlow, who has also is forging a career as a big band singer, will sing for the Trumps’ first dance at one of the inaugural balls on Friday.

They finished their set by singing part of “God Bless the USA,” Greenwood’s hit, before Greenwood joined them on stage to sing it with them.

Later, 3 Doors Down sang “The Broken,” “When I’m Gone,” “Kryptonite” and “Here Without You.” The Piano Guys, who became a hit on YouTube, also performed, singing “It’s Gonna Be Okay.”

Keith sang “American Soldier,” “Made in America” and “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue,” patriotic songs that spoke to the theme of the event — “Make America Great Again.” He held up a red plastic cup in salute as he sang his hit, “Beer for My Horses.”

“Thanks to Barack Obama for your service, and thanks to the 45th president of the United States. I salute you,” he said.

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  1. licity says:

    Guys shhhhhh! your president is being sworn in! :-P

  2. Kevin says:

    Trump is at his highest right now. I predict within 1 year we will be at war. Either a trade war or actually shells flying. He will be a one term president, and I will be glad for that. May all the people who drank the kool aid thinking they were getting their manufacturing jobs back, realize that a uninformed voter is worse than not voting at all. Congratulations for setting the country back 50 years.

  3. Clint says:

    GREAT DAY for America.

  4. Mitchem says:

    God bless you, President Trump.

  5. J Cline says:

    Thank you for an objective, non-biased take on the event. Refreshing, as far as Trump coverage goes.

  6. mouse says:

    “we all wondered if God could reverse the barrage of negative lies” made BY Trump during the campaign.


  7. nusiruki says:

    what Margaret explained I’m stunned that a stay at home mom able to earn $8053 in a few weeks on the computer . read here…………. -*—*-*-**-*…………………………………………………………………………..

  8. Ronell says:

    No one cares about obamas paid performers lol

  9. Grand Mesa says:

    sheet tabloid

  10. Barack Obama Inaugural Concert Attendance: 400,000. Donald Trump Inaugural Concert Attendance: 10,000. Sad! And there are five times more buses scheduled to arrive Saturday for the Women’s March than for the inauguration!

    • It’s not sad that Trump supporters are at work just like they have been for the last 8 years.

    • Windsor says:

      For Obama’S inauguration supporters fell into two primary groups. The paid celebrities and the folks lining up with their hands out in anticipation of Obama’s explosive Socialist agenda. For Trump’s supporters were at work.

  11. St says:

    The author failed to point out that a number of entertainers dropped out because they were bullied by the intolerant left.

    • Paul Loucks says:

      Shortly after Obnama was elected a reporter was with a large group of inner city youths. He asked them what Obama’s election meant to them and the chorus yelled “JOBS”. My neighbor, who is black, was going to vote Truymp when he was talking about jobs. Stuff intolerant philosophy and silent racism, it wasn’t more welfare,Trump is president because he promised what the Republicans have never delivered, a better life for the worker, the return of their factories and most of his new is either unemployed or supporting the unemployed.

    • Jane says:

      But if you are strong and believe in the person, nothing should have kept you away. They dropped out because they had morals and most did not drop out by the way..they flat out refused!!!! Frigid weather and 400,000 people came for President Obama and the magnificent mix of entertainers, both spoken word and singers. American truly at its finest. Mild weather and 10,000 with only has been or never was folks show up for this guy. SAD.

    • sterling says:

      Aw snowflakes were they?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Awww! I think Donald Trump is going to do a great job as president. He’s a good guy with a good heart. And a reallyyyy hardworking one. (Which is really inspirational in itself!) And one with some really great policy ideas. He’s also the first candidate in a long time who isn’t all beholden to big donors! And therefore I really think the guy’s gonna turn out to be one of the best president’s our countries ever had. And after having become aware during this election of how hard the lives of those hardworking little sweethearts throughout the midwest are, I really look forward to seeing them all get the help they are so desperate for. It’s not right that people work such hard and long hours like that and are forced to work from pay check to paycheck… Here’s to the re-strenteghting of the middle class! (Because it was through having strong middle class that our country became the great country it is today.) :)


  13. 1favored says:

    Whatever…whatever….First things first…Before I even think about the ‘coronation’…I have a blackboard I need to run my fingernails down for the next 4 years.

  14. See Me - Feel Me says:

    A great american embarrassment. You forgot that part.

  15. Ha! says:

    Nobody cares about these whack celebrations, – especially Trump.

    The real show will start after he is sworn in and starts picking fights on Twitter with people like Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham & others whom he has a beef with.

    Just remember how he handled Jeb Bush, Mit Romney as well as HRC. – this is gonna be fun. – Ha!

    • Wow this is a switch.. Most of them are crying for their bottles and crayons. You are definitely exceptional I must say.

    • See Me - Feel Me says:

      Yeah that’s what we need, a maniac with a cell phone making an ass of himself and the rest of us around the world. He’s a tough guy alright, he knows how to bully handicapped people and women. Gratefully it appears that many american’s are coming to their senses. Approval ratings down to 37%. Nobody likes this guy. The worst ever. The stupid antics are not working anymore.

  16. If Trump is a crappy president republicans will still love him.

    • sterling says:

      Will they? Ryan wants to gut SS and Medicare but Trump said he wouldn’t — would Trump refuse to sign a Repub bill? What about repealing the ACA with … nothing to replace it with? Repub governors are, to put it mildly, completely freaked out that they’ll lose the Medicaid expansion.

    • Mitchem says:

      Like the dems did with crappy Obama. I get it.

  17. michaelarc says:

    whats that mean…the liberal have drowned out justice and used will and intimidation……lets make sure these unforgotten obey the constition or like a rogue cop or husband who doesnt desevre his woman, hades is all you want…..lucifer wont….off to work…its good to work again….and get rid of the illegals, if they run from their countries whos not doing the job? then get with it..dont want my yard to be next to vatos car lot of non working semi legal autos from 89 to 99….hey donald pass the ketsup.

  18. ripnik says:

    Let’s Spend the Night Together, then You Can’t Always Get What You Want, then Heart of Stone, filling the National Mall this afternoon. I would like to know if those were used with permission or without. I do know that the Stones complained that Trump did not have their permission when he used their music at the RNC last summer.

  19. kelly says:

    common sense = President Elect Donald Trump. the media should try it out sometime

  20. plukasiak says:

    I got through almost all of Kryptonite by 3 Doors Down before giving up. What an awful concert — I don’t know what kind of viewership it will have, but I guarantee that most of it was hate-watched.

    Btw, I find it odd that you didn’t bother to mention Obama’s “We Are One” inauguration concert at the Lincoln memorial. Unlike Trump, Obama didn’t feel the need to politicize the concert by including his campaign slogan in the title.

    I also notice a lack of crowd estimates. Looking at the pix from the Obama Concert, I’d be shocked to hear that it was over 250K, including the “seat warmers” ordered to be there by the US military.

    • oh and by the way .. b.o. didn’t have a campaign slogan all the b.o. had was the fact that he had it in for this country and boy did he do a whack job on it. thanks b.o. and by the way bye glad you are outta here forever yea

  21. Quote Me Not says:

    Hollywood, YOU are on the wrong side of history.

  22. John says:

    David J, you are all talk and I mean talk! Just like Hillary Clinton! President Elect Trump is a doer, that is what makes a great President!

    • mouse says:

      Who’s paying for that wall again? Oh right, we are. At some point you might realize what many of us already have. Many of Trump’s promises are lies.

    • See Me - Feel Me says:

      When will you ever learn that trump did not get to where he is by being a doer. He is a taker and he is a salesman and you bought it where many of us did not. His numbers have fallen off a cliff since the election because many of those who voted for him don’t trust him anymore. The lowest approval rating of any president in history.

  23. Steve Barr says:

    When what went on during the election finally comes to light and Trump is impeached and all his supporters scatter like cockroaches maybe losers like Jon Voight will realize that this cowardly lying thug was also a traitor .

  24. Dave J. says:

    If Americans wanted a better inauguration then they should have voted for Hillary Clinton!

    • Cooper says:

      Quite sure America wants a better president, which we now have as of Jan. 20

      • See Me - Feel Me says:

        The lowest poll numbers of any president in history. he’s down 12 points since the election so some are catching on. he has the worst transition record in history. he has yet to fill any of the vacancies in any of the agencies he now has to run. he is an incompetent manager and he will fail miserably.

    • Dave J. says:

      But what we get instead are these uneducated has beens!

      • Jim says:

        We just want a President with the basic capacity for rational thought. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.

  25. John says:

    Last comment was not a commentary, just liberal bs. I am enjoying the concert!

  26. Cooper says:

    Sam Moore was incredible. Best rendition I have EVER heard of “America.” And the event is free of all that Hollywood crap, replaced with real American marching bands and singers. I like this much better than the pompous awards shows. Trump didn’t need Hollywood after all. Go figure.

    • See Me - Feel Me says:

      trump wanted nothing more than to be a hollywood crap guy. he had a show remember. he loves celebrity and he loves people like you who idolize him just like all that hollywood crap. get off your soapbox and wake up.

    • plukasiak says:

      Sam Moore stole his interpretation directly from the extraordinary Ray Charles. And did anyone look at the faces of the choir backing Moore up. I don’t think I’ve ever seen more “I really don’t want to be here, but I need the money” looks from performers.

      • US times says:

        Apparently Rolling Stone doesn’t think Sam’s a schmuck or hack talent. There you go again, so blinded by your Hillary and bashing anybody that thinks outside your narrow box.

        How dare a black, talented man considered to be one of RS’s 100 greatest singers of the rock era – turn his back on America by singing for an incoming President.

        Get off your high horse. All of you. There’s taxpayers and people hurting (aka uneducated deplorables) according to you heartless, arrogant people. Yet you’re the first to spout about educating the poor. Why? So you can have their vote? Aren’t they part of the uneducated deplorables? Can’t have it both ways.

        Samuel David “Sam” Moore (born October 12, 1935) is an American Southern soul and R&B singer, musician, and songwriter who was the tenor vocalist for the soul vocal duo Sam & Dave from 1961 to 1981. Sam Moore is a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Grammy Hall of Fame (for “Soul Man”), the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and a Grammy Award and a multi-Gold Record award-winning recording artist. Sam & Dave were the most successful and critically acclaimed duo in soul music history. Moore has also achieved a distinguished 25-year career as a solo performing and recording artist. In 2008, based on a poll of other musicians, Rolling Stone named Sam Moore one of the 100 greatest singers of the rock era (1950s–2008). He performed at the inaugural concert at Washington D.C., January 20, 2017.

      • US times says:

        Really? We must not have watched the same concert. Sam Moore is in the Music Hall of Fame so I don’t think he needs to stand on Ray Charles coattails. Anybody who does anything for Trump is immediately nullified by you fascist, prejudice, narrow minded Democrats who still haven’t figured out how they lost they elecition. People like you are the reason why I became an Independent.

    • Dave J. says:

      But you continue to use products and watch movies, even listen to music from ppl who endorsed Hillary Clinton! You see that is how thick America is since you do not mind using Iphones and using Microsoft 2 CEO’s of Tim Cooke and Bill Gates who are wealthier than Trump but fully endorsed Hillary Clinton, watch the last 2 star wars movies who heavily endorse Hillary Clinton, but you do not seem to mention nothing about using anything manufactured by Trump! you are just as clueless and dumb as the voters who voted for Trump!

      • US times says:

        Enlighten me, Dave. Why do you have to drag Trump voters into your analogy? Are you saying Bernie was the only choice?

    • Dunstan says:

      Your pathetic comment about “real American” talent is beyond ludicrous. I guess you like ignoring facts; most of “Hollywood” is American. And like most of “Hollywood,” most “Americans” voted for Clinton – by nearly three MILLION votes.

      Trump only won the electoral college because of 78,000 votes in three states. Look it up. You’re entitled to your opinion. You’re not entitled to make up your own facts.

      If you don’t like Awards shows, then don’t watch them.

      As for your support of this deranged lunatic and his policies, which part impresses you the most? The fact that he punched out a teacher, causing a black eye, leading to his father Fred transferring him to a military high school – which he bizarrely likened to serving in the US Military?

      Maybe you like him bragging about his sexual escapades while being married, something he did many times over the decades. It’s on tape from the Howard Stern show. Or perhaps you like him lusting after his daughter; again, something he’s done publicly. Look it up.

      Or perhaps you enjoy his coziness with Vladimir Putin, someone he clearly admires and is reluctant to “offend.”

      Do you know that he’s facing potential rape charges involving a 13 year old girl – something that allegedly occurred on his private plane.

      Then again, maybe it’s his mocking of a disabled reporter – something he denied and yet there is solid video evidence he did it no matter how much he attempts to re-write his past.

      He is the ultimate clear and present danger and we should reserve a cell for him, Pence, McConnell and Ryan at Guantanamo.

      He now is in sole possession of the worst approval ratings of any incoming president in history. That should really cheer you up.

      He has no comprehension of world affairs, the Constitution or much of anything else outside his billion dollar debt-laden real estate business. He is a con man pure and simple. And you fell for it, hook, line and sinker.

      • In other fake news that is I guess you could call it newsworthy by your standards (and I must say you are stooping pretty low to digress on that cowardly loser Clinton. I saw Jack in the Beanstalk with Santa Claus the other day. And they told me that they like Clin ton too. Wow all the greats that like her whooo

      • US times says:

        @Dustan, lets’ not forget the media. They’ve been running things since way back when…..’The Powers That Be’ is a great book that came up several times during the campaign – by the media. Should be required reading for all Americans before they go to the polls. That’s why I voted for Bernie. Bernie was genuine; and he didn’t have the media machine fawning over the ‘first female’ president. This isn’t high school but Hollywood and the Democrats treat it like it is.

        Best looking – Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Best Personality – ditto on those two.

        Best Performance – ditto. Problem? All of those are subjective. Just ask Meryl – the most talented actress in the world who chose to be a politician and/or joker at an awards show. Mocking those of us who went to the polls and didn’t chose her chosen one.

        Meryl, I voted for Bernie. Did it ever occur to you that there were other Americans who didn’t want or believe Hillary? Or lost confidence in her during the last 8 years? Or the email snafu? Or the Lynch tarmac meeting?

        No, all voters that didn’t vote Hillary were all put into that damn deplorable basket.

      • Cooper says:

        Yeah, you just keep on adding the numbers, writing theories and whining and crying etc. for the next 8 years, I’ll enjoy America and its next president.

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