Usher, Katy Perry invigorate the 2013 Kids’ Inaugural concert

Washington, D.C. – The young audience cheered with enough energy to power a light show when Usher opened the Kid’s Inaugural concert Saturday night, a part of President Barack Obama’s second inaugural celebrations. Two hours later, the audience remained electrified as Katy Perry sent them home with “Firework.”

Usher kicked off an energy-packed two-hour Kids' Inaugural concert honoring military families. (photo by Kwai Chan / Meniscus Magazine)
Usher kicked off an energy-packed two-hour Kids’ Inaugural concert honoring military families. (photo by Kwai Chan / Meniscus Magazine)

The performers were commanding bookends for the concert hosted by Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, who both started the event in 2009 to honor military families.

“Tonight’s party is all about you,” said emcee Nick Cannon, who wasted no time in giving it up to Usher, who powered through a set featuring “Yeah!,” “Without You” and “O.M.G.” His dancers glided effortlessly across the stage, the audience roaring with approval.

Far East Movement and Mindless Behavior kept the party going with a contrast of electro-pop and R&B in their sets. The former, decked in stylized punk, got the crowd clapping to a vigorous performance of “Live My Life.” The latter looked laser-sharp in slim-fitting dark suits as they performed “My Girl.”

The concert also included cast members of Glee; Walt Whitman and The Soul Children of Chicago (featuring Black Violin); a trippy performance by dance troupe iLuminate; and a race featuring the mascots of the Washington Nationals baseball team. A team of devoted Washington Wizards fans tossed t-shirts to the crowd.

Cannon kept the show moving, the America’s Got Talent host’s continuing his energetic banter during the two-hour show at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Organizers had set up two stages, which allowed performances to open and close seamlessly. About an hour before the show, a DJ warmed up the room with Beyoncé, The Wanted, Justin Bieber and Pitbull.

Mrs. Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia attended the concert, titled “Kid’s Inaugural: Our Children. Our Future.” Mrs. Obama thrilled the crowd with her new bangs, which she debuted on her 49th birthday earlier this week. A flashy belt accented her Alexander McQueen white shirt from the Resort 2011 collection, which topped a pair of simple black slacks. Jill Biden and her grandchildren also attended.

Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden reminded the audience of the sacrifices that military families have made for the nation. They urged children to welcome parents as guests to the show and briefly talked about the courage it takes to be a child with military parents.

Taking advantage of the energy in the air, Mrs. Obama introduced Perry, who took it up several notches. Perry unleashed a dynamic set that included “Teenage Dream,” “Part of Me,” and “Wide Awake.” Her finale, “Fireworks,” brought thunderous applause and cheers from the 5,000 spectators in attendance.

After the concert ended, the crowd filed out of the convention center and into the streets to the subways, taxis, charter buses and parking lots. Some people pointed to the quarter moon floating in the clear and mild winter night, then remarked that it had been a good night for a show.

Katy Perry closed the Kids' Inaugural concert on Jan. 19, 2013, with four songs. (photo by Kwai Chan / Meniscus Magazine)
Katy Perry closed the Kids’ Inaugural concert on Jan. 19, 2013, with four songs. (photo by Kwai Chan / Meniscus Magazine)

Photo Gallery: 2013 Kids’ Inaugural, Washington, D.C.
all photos by Kwai Chan / Meniscus Magazine

Video: Katy Perry – 2013 Kids’ Inaugural Concert, Washington, D.C.
video by Derrick Henry and Kwai Chan / Meniscus Magazine