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Critic’s notebook: Bruce Springsteen sings ‘Land of Hope and Dreams’ to open the inaugural special.

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When President Barack Obama gave his farewell deal with to the nation on Jan. 10, 2017, he walked off the stage to a recording of Bruce Springsteen’s “Land of Hope and Desires,” embracing his household whereas Mr. Springsteen sang of providing unwavering help for his damaged pals, and of the facility of touring collectively towards a typical future.

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So it was a heat and figuring out little bit of circle-closing that Mr. Springsteen himself carried out “Land of Hope and Desires” to open the prime-time “Celebrating America” particular Wednesday night time that marked the inauguration of President Biden. Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Springsteen stood alone, sporting a navy pea coat and denims, and clutching a vividly aged guitar.

His singing was gritty and a little bit tense, a mirrored image of the music’s decided optimism within the face of challenges. “Depart behind your sorrows/ Let today be the final,” he purred. “Tomorrow there’ll be sunshine/ And all this darkness previous.”

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The subsequent performer — Jon Bon Jovi, one other son of New Jersey — additionally emphasised the arrival of the sunshine, with a canopy of the Beatles’ “Right here Comes the Solar.” However within the context of the pandemic and the current political turmoil that has wracked the nation, his blithe cheer felt brittle and unawares, particularly following Mr. Springsteen’s acknowledgment of the chilly season simply now coming to an finish.

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