On January 20, 2017, we will witness the 58th Presidential Inauguration. At that time President Obama will step aside and President-Elect Donald Trump will take over as president of the United States. Regardless of your political affiliations, societal points of view or, national perspectives, the ringing in of a new president is a big deal and one would think that such a special occasion would also bring with it big time (i.e., A-list) entertainment.
However, as it has been widely reported, a number of major entertainers have declined to perform for President-Elect Trump and that’s what makes the latest “entertainment” news relating to the upcoming presidential inauguration so bizarre. Specifically, one of the formal Washington balls that will be taking place on January 19 is the Garden State Gala. The New Jersey State Society, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that schedules activities and networking events for New Jerseyans living in the Washington area, organized the event. Here’s the irony; performing at the Garden State Gala will be none other than New Jersey’s B-Street Band.
Specifically, the B-Street Band is a cover band that largely plays material by Bruce Springsteen (in addition to material by other artists like Frank Sinatra and Frankie Valli). Widely regarded as one of the better tribute bands vis-a-vis “the Boss,” the B-Street Band proclaims itself as the “#1 Bruce Springsteen Tribute Band voted by fans. World’s longest running tribute band!,” according to their Facebook page.
The “timing” of the B-Street Band performing in this situation is strange to say the least. At first blush, one might think that the oddity is because the B-Street Band is a cover band but that’s really not it. In fact, this is not the first time that the B-Street Band has performed for an incoming president as they performed at both of President Obama’s New Jersey Inauguration balls.
Editor’s Note: The B-Street Band has advertised this event as a “nonpartisan affair” as per their website.
No, that’s not it. Instead, the irony lies in who is hosting the event (New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who has been repeatedly overlooked for a spot in the Trump administration) along with the fact that one of the most outspoken critics of President-Elect Donald Trump has been “the Boss” himself. In fact, consider this quote from Springsteen who was recently talking about the President-Elect:
“I’ve felt disgust before, but never the kind of fear that you feel now. It’s as simple as the fear of, is someone simply competent enough to do this particular job? Forget about where they are ideologically. Do they simply have the pure competence to be put in the position of such responsibility?”
And if you think that was bad, consider this pre-election statement by Springsteen:
“And he’s such a flagrant, toxic narcissist that he wants to take down the entire democratic system with him if he goes. If he could reflect on these things … but he’s such a non-reflective person. And he simply has no sense of decency, no sense of responsibility about him.”
Here’s the point. I don’t take issue with the B-Street Band for doing the gig. In fact, they are under contract to do it (and have been even before Trump was a candidate for office) and as Will Forte (the band’s leader) has said, if there was no contract they “would have had to think about it a little harder.” The B-Street Band is a great band and they are merely doing their job. In fact, in an effort to diffuse some of the friction stemming from the situation, the band posted this on their Facebook page:
No, the irony is the timing of it all. Who would have thought that after all that has been said and despite repeated blistering commentary from the B-Street Band’s inspirational figure himself, that one of “the Boss'” greatest idolators would be performing on January 19 in Washington, D.C.? They say timing is everything and man ain’t that the truth? As to January 19, I doubt an appearance from “the Boss” in the flesh will be forthcoming; in fact, I don’t even think he will be there in spirit that night.