Here’s a picture of an all star band including Bruce Hornsby at President Bill Clinton’s second inaugural ball. Thanks to our long-time friends Beverly and Charlie for this photo from Washington, DC, January 1997.
I had the honor and privilege of serving as a political appointee in the Clinton-Gore Administration. I have known the Clintons since 1978 when I was a student and a Young Democrat at the University of Arkansas and worked on Bill’s first campaign for governor. Even at the ripe old age of 19, I knew Bill Clinton would be President one day. I was right–twice as it turned out! On January 20, 1997, I was so excited to watch my boss get sworn in for a second term as President of the United States of America.
That evening, it was time to continue the celebration by going to one of the official Inaugural Balls. My friend and fellow Bruce fan, Charlie Young, and I attended the Arkansas Ball. Since President Clinton was from Arkansas, this ball promised to be the most special with the best food and drink and top notch entertainment. Because of my connection to Arkansas, I was able to score our coveted tickets to the sold out ball.
The crowd numbered in the thousands, but Charlie and I were determined to get close to the stage for a prime view of the musicians and the President and First Lady. We kept elbowing our way through until we finally made it to the first row. We were excited to see a Baldwin piano sitting in the center of the stage and hoped it belonged to our friend and favorite performer, Bruce Hornsby.
Before the show started, we caught a glimpse of Bruce standing behind the stage curtain checking out the crowd. He saw us, smiled, and waved hello. Imagine our excitement when the show started and Bruce’s name was announced, and he walked to his piano. As he was walking, he looked at me and Charlie, and pointed at us and waved. What a great moment! Later during a break in the show, Bruce came out to chat with us.
The all star band that evening included Bruce, Bela Fleck, George Duke, Michael McDonald, Kenny G, Trisha Yearwood, Sheryl Crow, Julio Iglesias, and many others. What an impressive group of musicians worthy of playing for a newly sworn in for another term president! Of course, our favorite was Bruuuuuuce!!
That evening was truly a once in a lifetime experience! We will never forget it.
Si’s note: while it doesn’t include Bruce Hornsby, here’s some footage from Bill Clinton’s second inaugural ball.