Who’s performing?

Although a host of big names have turned him down, Donald Trump has gathered a number of stars for his official inauguration celebrations. Meanwhile, other stars are appearing at alternative and anti-Trump events.

The welcome celebrations

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The official inauguration celebrations kicked off on Thursday with the Make America Great Again! concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC as part of the Welcome Celebration.

The bill included hard rockers 3 Doors Down (above), who have had two US number one albums.

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David J. Phillip

Country singer Toby Keith joined them at the event. He released a statement explaining his decision. “I don’t apologise for performing for our country or military,” he said. “I performed at events for previous presidents Bush and Obama and over 200 shows in Iraq and Afghanistan for the USO [United Service Organizations].”

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Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight also put in an appearance. He endorsed Mr Trump during the presidential election campaign, saying Mr Trump is “an answer to our problems” and “will save our nation”.

During his speech on Thursday, Voight said: “We have been witnessed to a barrage of propaganda that left us all breathless with anticipation, not knowing if God could reverse all the negative lies against Mr Trump, whose only desire was to make America great again.”

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American-Indian DJ RaviDrums provided further entertainment. He said he was “on the fence” when he was first asked to perform. “But I talked to my dad and he said this is a great honour. My dad came to America from India with $8 and a one-way ticket to pursue the American dream. This is the dream!”

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But – although Dreamgirls star Jennifer Holliday was announced as a performer at the concert, she dropped out after a vicious backlash.

“I woke up, and there was like this whole thing of terrible tweets and things on my Instagram,” she said. “I live a pretty reclusive life. I pretty much stay to myself. You’re not on the radio and then one morning you wake up and everybody hates you.”

The swearing-in ceremony

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The honour of singing the national anthem during the main inauguration event itself on Friday has gone to 16-year-old Jackie Evancho, who came second on America’s Got Talent in 2010.

The official balls

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Sam Moore, of legendary soul duo Sam and Dave, will lead the line-up at Liberty and Freedom: The Official Presidential Inaugural Balls.

He said: “I was a participant in the civil rights movement and have seen many positive changes and advancement in my 81 years of living in this wonderful country, but I know we must all join hands and work together with our new president.”

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The Radio City Rockettes will also turn on the style at the official balls – even though the decision caused consternation among some members of the troupe.

Other performers at the balls will include Tim Rushlow and his Big Band, Silhouettes, Pelican212, The Piano Guys, Circus 1903, Cache Olson, Lexi Walker and Erin Boheme.

The alternatives

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There are alternatives to the official balls – the Peace Ball, for liberal activists, will feature Solange Knowles.

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Grammy-winning jazz musician Esperanza Spalding will also star at the Peace Ball in Washington.

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Rock band Audioslave will play their first concert for 11 years at an Anti-Inaugural Ball in Los Angeles, organised by rock/hip-hop crossover band Prophets of Rage on Friday.

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Veteran folk rocker Jackson Browne – who initially supported Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders – will play at the same anti-Trump event.


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