The Milli Vanilli Inauguration

posted at 7:50 am on January 23, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Can this inauguration get any more embarrassing?  First, our Chief Justice flubs the oath of office — the entire reason for the event — and then the President delivers a downer speech that even his adoring throngs can’t cheer.  Now it turns out that the musicians pulled a Milli Vanilli and synchronized themselves to recorded music:

The somber, elegiac tones before President Obama’s oath of office at the inauguration on Tuesday came from the instruments of Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and two colleagues. But what the millions on the Mall and watching on television heard was in fact a recording, made two days earlier by the quartet and matched tone for tone by the musicians playing along.

The players and the inauguration organizing committee said the arrangement was necessary because of the extreme cold and wind during Tuesday’s ceremony. The conditions raised the possibility of broken piano strings, cracked instruments and wacky intonation minutes before the president’s swearing in (which had problems of its own).

“Truly, weather just made it impossible,” Carole Florman, a spokeswoman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, said on Thursday. “No one’s trying to fool anybody. This isn’t a matter of Milli Vanilli,” Ms. Florman added, referring to the pop band that was stripped of a 1989 Grammy because of its lip-synching, making it synonymous with the practice.

Well, if it’s not Milli Vanilli, it’s at least Ashlee Simpson.  Either way, they faked a live performance.  No one doubts that Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma can perform the piece, but it shouldn’t have been presented as a live performance if it wasn’t.  It’s dishonest.  Doesn’t anyone on the CCIC know that, or does the word Congressional automatically disable that knowledge?

That brings us to another question about the music.  If they were going to finger-synch to music, why not pick something a little more upbeat?  “Somber and elegiac” belongs at events like funerals, not celebrations like inaugurations.

Update: We should note that the Marine Corps band played live, and the choir sang live as well.  If the weather didn’t allow for certainty with stringed instruments, then the CCIC should have just stuck with the Marines.

Also, I find it interesting that NBC knew about the synching and didn’t bother to report it to their viewers.  What other fakery from this administration will NBC knowingly omit from their coverage?

Update II: And the Navy’s Sea Chanters performed live as well.

Update III: Just to clarify, there are good reasons not to play stringed instruments in 30-degree weather.  Having a recording as a contingency makes some sense, if one insists on scheduling a string ensemble for an outdoor performance in January in DC, when that kind of weather is the norm rather than the exception.  If you play the recording instead of performing live, though, be honest about it.  Don’t pretend it’s live when it’s not and make everyone look dishonest, including the performers, who had no control over how the performance was presented.

How difficult is that?


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[You-Eh-Vee on January 23, 2009 at 9:34 AM]

A random poster at HotAir, of course.

Look, sure, Ma might have some synthetic-core strings, which may not withstand operation at temperatures of 20F+/-, but to suggest that metal strings are any more susceptible to snapping at temperatures a mere 50 degrees below standard temperature is laughable. But of course, they are musicians, not athletes, so I would expect them to tailor their working conditions to their equipment and not the other way around, or else fake it.

Dusty on January 23, 2009 at 10:08 AM

The music director and organist at our church (a husband wife team) have a son who plays saxaphone in the US Army Band “Pershing’s Own” which leads each Inaugural Parade as part of the official escort to the president.

He told them it was so cold that, by the time they got halfway or so through the route, the regular condensation that forms from warm breath through the instrument had frozen up most of his keys/pads. He jokingly said that was the reason the band had 99 members so that hopefully at least some of them would make it through the parade still being able to play. :)

Kirin on January 23, 2009 at 9:43 AM

Thank you.

Ed, this post of yours and the following thread are below Hot Air standards. This is petty and ignorant. Let’s critique and fight the slow slide to socialism and a weak national defense.

toliver on January 23, 2009 at 10:11 AM

I love Perlman and Yo Yo Ma and completely agree that they are incredible musicians and feel it was a shame that they had to resort to such unpleasant measures to deal with the weather.

However, I’d rather criticize the original STUPID idea of having a string quartet playing outdoors in January in DC. There’s plenty of other places/times during the festivities that could have been a much better venue. And that lies squarely in the hands of His Majesty Obama’s doofus Inagural party planners.

Kirin on January 23, 2009 at 10:12 AM

Amateur Hour.

rockmom on January 23, 2009 at 10:14 AM

[DeathToMediaHacks on January 23, 2009 at 8:09 AM]

Yeah, ya can’t play classical music on any violin cheaper than $100,000 and less than 200 years old, otherwise it sound like rush hour in NYC no matter who is wielding it.

Dusty on January 23, 2009 at 10:14 AM

Summer – I’d agree if people were attacking the musicians. From what I’ve read, people are upset it was allowed to appear live but wasn’t.

I’m not too worked up either way. I never really understood why everyone freaked about Milli Vanilli in the first place. People paid to hear the songs and see them perform. They heard the songs and got a live dance performance.

It’s the same here. The playing was live…they just didn’t have those instruments miked.

If they had made a big deal about the inaugural committee finding a way for these guys to play in freezing temps I’d be annoyed…otherwise, I don’t really care.

JadeNYU on January 23, 2009 at 10:14 AM

Ho hum.

Johan Klaus on January 23, 2009 at 10:15 AM

Some people are just too talented and legendary to fail.

HarneyPeak on January 23, 2009 at 10:16 AM

Average Monthly Temperatures in Washington, DC

January
Average high temperature: 43
Average low temperature: 24
Rainfall: 3.57

It’s not crazy to assume that the mid-day temperature in DC would be significantly over 30.

This is not an issue.

toliver on January 23, 2009 at 10:21 AM

In those temps and conditions, quality instruments are too vulnerable. I wouldn’t even take an expensive instrument out in weather like that TBH. (Fnaa Fnaa)

They made a wise(ish) choice. Quibbling over how it was advertised seems a little pedantic.

LimeyGeek on January 23, 2009 at 10:22 AM

More on the average temp for Jan. 20 in D.C.:

The chart of January 20 high temperatures from 1930-2007 shows that, on average, the most likely temperature range is 35-39° (22%), followed by 40-44° (21%). This is the case even though the average is 41.8° because the distribution is skewed toward higher temperatures.

Read the rest.

http://capitalclimate.blogspot.com/2008/12/inauguration-climatology.html

Can we end this silliness now? Thanks.

toliver on January 23, 2009 at 10:27 AM

I’m not too worked-up over this one. I think it happens all the time. Award shows are almost certainly synched as well – there is no time to set-up and sound-check all those artists with mere-minutes between acts.

It was a live music video … I don’t think this takes anything away from what it was supposed to be.

Ludwig on January 23, 2009 at 10:28 AM

Dear Madame Feinstein, Inaugural Chairperson,

Just thought we should remind you that the weather in DC during the winter month of January can get quite cold. I thought you guys were the experts on climate, so I’m puzzled how you missed this well known meteorological event which has occured every year since the dawn of time. While we are flattered to have been asked to perform for this historic event, we really aren’t up for playing out of tune million dollar stringed instruments with our frozen fingers. Why don’t you call Jay Z and have him sit in for us, since screaming profanities is well suited to any kind of weather?

Sincerely, Itzi, Tony, YoYo and Gabriela

Dear Itzi, Tony, YoYo and Gabriela,

Don’t worry about it guys, we’re going to fake the whole thing. I mean really, have you seen our consituency? We could tell them Frank Sinatra was going to play the Stars Bangled Banner on a kazoo and they’d buy it. They’re simpletons of the highest order. You did see who won the election didn’t you? Well guess who voted him in, the same people who will show up here on Tuesday and stand in below freezing temperatures for six hours just to get a glimpse of our puppet leader. We’re dealing with idiots here, so don’t sweat it.

Hugs,

Dianne

fogw on January 23, 2009 at 10:41 AM

What other fakery from this administration will NBC knowingly omit from their coverage?

Headlines On This Date 4 Years Ago:

“Republicans spending $42 million on inauguration while troops Die
in unarmored Humvees”

“Bush extravagance exceeds any reason during tough economic times”

“Fat cats get their $42 million inauguration party, Ordinary
Americans get the shaft”

Headlines Today:

“Historic Obama Inauguration will cost only $120 million”

“Obama Spends $120 million on inauguration; America Needs A Big
Party”

“Everyman Obama shows America how to celebrate”

“Citibank executives contribute $8 million to Obama Inauguration”

Nothing like fair & unbiased coverage of the news !!!

It’s all just smoke and mirrors.

christene on January 23, 2009 at 10:42 AM

It’s not crazy to assume that the mid-day temperature in DC would be significantly over 30.

toliver on January 23, 2009 at 10:21 AM

Just over 30 doesn’t magically make it warm enough. In colder temps, instruments can be warped which will put them out of tune.

Ed, this post of yours and the following thread are below Hot Air standards. This is petty and ignorant.

toliver on January 23, 2009 at 10:11 AM

I’m sorry, but I don’t see how it’s petty or ignorant. The fact that NBC knew and decided not to say anything bothers me. They didn’t keep the Olympics secret about the staged opening ceremony issues. Why keep this one? This isn’t even about Obama.

Esthier on January 23, 2009 at 10:42 AM

The ’52 Tele doesn’t make it up on stage too much any more. The Jap Strat does just fine in a pinch.

!#$@*%& longhairs!

HarneyPeak on January 23, 2009 at 10:43 AM

Actually, as a musician, I am relieved to be reading these things. When you put extremely hot, humid air (98.6 degrees, high moisture from us) into a wooden instrument that is surrounded by 25 degree air, bad things are going to happen. I thought that, without this situation, the clarinetist was taking an extreme professional risk by performing. An instrument of wood that costs many thousands of dollars can crack wide open in these conditions! I’d dread doing that even on my silver flute (which theoretically cannot crack this way) for what it could do to the pads inside my keys and the cork inside my headjoint. We’re talking a $1000 repair there.

It’s not much better for the piano, violin, or cello. Cold, dry air plus sunlight and body heat is another mixture good for warping and cracking, and those instruments make the expensive clarinet look cheap. The piano’s internal strings would go out of tune instantly, and they could snap, too. Add the fact that cold fingers make it impossible to do the techniques that were required by the piece, and it makes sense. The performance would have been a disaster.

If you don’t believe me on that last point, try this yourself. Put your hand on the table and strum your fingers back and forth as quickly as you can (as though you’re bored). Now, get an ice pack from your freezer and rest the knuckles of this hand on it for two minutes (put a cloth between; don’t get frostbite). Try the exercise again. You’ll find that your motion is slower, clunkier, and uneven. When you’re trying to do rapid scales on any of these instruments, that makes a huge difference.

Incidentally, I didn’t like the piece. I thought it was the wrong piece for the occasion. People were there to celebrate (and make a god-awful mess and deride 43 one last time). They didn’t want something introspective and somber like the opening music of Harry Potter. They would have wanted something more like the theme music from Jurassic Park, ironically, a style for which the composer is known best! I see three possibilities here:
1) Team Obama wanted an introspective ceremony. Not likely.
2) John Williams wanted to reflect on the solemnity of taking such an oath. Perhaps, but, as noted, really missing the boat.
3) John Williams is a closet conservative and wanted to throw cold water on the event. Not likely, but the thought did cross my mind.

flutejpl on January 23, 2009 at 10:44 AM

The piece did not have to be somber and elegiac. The theme was from the upbeat hymn “Simple Gifts”. The funny thing is, after listening to all the high-flying speechifying, I was thinking that a nice simple setting of “Simple Gifts” would be the perfect antidote to all the highbrow BS. Then when I heard the choice of the music, I was happy and hopeful. When the first clear clarinet line came through, I was thinking that this might not be too bad.

But the arranger, the ever overwrought John Williams, just could not help himself. It devolved into just another “Look how talented we are” mishmash.

What could have been an instructive moment, where the new President, who is far too impressed with himself, IMHO, is confronted with the simple truth of a great hymn, instead turned into yet another excuse for people who fancy themselves as being terribly clever to pat themselves on the back. That’s Industrial-Strength Irony, right there…

gridlock2 on January 23, 2009 at 10:47 AM

Ed, this post of yours and the following thread are below Hot Air standards. This is petty and ignorant. Let’s critique and fight the slow slide to socialism and a weak national defense.toliver

I don’t agree, NBC needs to be brought up short for their dishonesty. Remember how the Chinese girl at the Olympics was dubbed and then the press got on her? Further this arrangement was nothing more than a choreographed “Diversity Moment” by the BO inaugeral gang to show how much multiculturalism we have and will have under BO. A black, asian, white and a semite to blend the mall!

wepeople on January 23, 2009 at 10:48 AM

…be honest about it…How difficult is that?

You antiHopeAndChangey meany-butt! Every time you criticize The One, a unicorn falls out of the sky.

eeyore on January 23, 2009 at 10:51 AM

Just over 30 doesn’t magically make it warm enough. In colder temps, instruments can be warped which will put them out of tune.

Did you look at the data I posted? There was a signifigant chance that the temps would have been in the upper 30s and 40s. Still cold, but perhaps “doable” [with rented instruments].

I’m sorry, but I don’t see how it’s petty or ignorant. The fact that NBC knew and decided not to say anything bothers me. They didn’t keep the Olympics secret about the staged opening ceremony issues. Why keep this one? This isn’t even about Obama.

Esthier on January 23, 2009 at 10:42 AM

It’s petty and ignorant to bash Obama’s people and the inauguration planners over this. NBC is a different story. The mainstream media is clearly “in the tank” and dishonest.

toliver on January 23, 2009 at 10:51 AM

Yeah anyone who hates on Perlman, Ma and the other musicians onstage doesn’t get classical music.

DeathToMediaHacks on January 23, 2009 at 8:09 AM

That you think people are “hating on” the musicians speaks far more of you than it does anyone else.

Marching bands do not play stringed instruments.

BacaDog on January 23, 2009 at 8:40 AM

Stringed instruments aren’t the only ones damaged by weather. The brass instruments normally hold up alright, but the woodwinds can easily be damaged. Also, it’s pretty hard to keep proper ombasure and breath control in cold weather, which is often the difference between in or out of tune.

Esthier on January 23, 2009 at 10:52 AM

Did you look at the data I posted? There was a signifigant chance that the temps would have been in the upper 30s and 40s. Still cold, but perhaps “doable” [with rented instruments].

No, not really “doable”. That was my point. It’s not just a problem that it was freezing. And why world class musicians would even want to be seen in public with rented instruments that they don’t mind ruining with cold weather is something I wouldn’t be able to explain. The sound quality is significantly different.

NBC is a different story. The mainstream media is clearly “in the tank” and dishonest.

toliver on January 23, 2009 at 10:51 AM

Well, that’s who we’re bashing. I really don’t see the problem here. NBC covering this up is bothersome. They didn’t do it for China. Why did they do it here over something so trivial?

Esthier on January 23, 2009 at 10:57 AM

I’d dread doing that even on my silver flute (which theoretically cannot crack this way) for what it could do to the pads inside my keys and the cork inside my headjoint. We’re talking a $1000 repair there.

Certainly, but that’s why you never take your good flute to play outside, even in perfect weather. It’s just not worth it. Replacing cheap pads is quick and easy.

Esthier on January 23, 2009 at 10:59 AM

A perfect example of what this administration is going to be…
But to get back to instruments…each of these guys have dozens of instruments…some worth millions, some worth thousands, and probably some worth hundreds.
They could all play a “cat” and make it sound good, it was an event, not a concert.
Just be honest, have a backup music, but play it for real…no one was expecting a HD quality performance, my God look at the speakers they were using, you don’t think speakers are affected by the cold?

right2bright on January 23, 2009 at 11:05 AM

No, not really “doable”. That was my point. It’s not just a problem that it was freezing. And why world class musicians would even want to be seen in public with rented instruments that they don’t mind ruining with cold weather is something I wouldn’t be able to explain. The sound quality is significantly different.

I suspect with temps in the 40s it would have been possible to perform that piece. I’m going by memory [and I didn't hear the whole thing], but that music didn’t seem all that demanding. And yes, I think these musicians would have made an exception and played instruments of lesser quality in order to perform at such a historically significant event. Also considering most of the people in the arts are screaming liberals, I suspect that the performers would have walked across broken glass to be able to play that event.

Much [most?] of the criticism in Ed’s post and the comments following have not been limited to NBC.

toliver on January 23, 2009 at 11:06 AM

Yes, it would have been possible to perform the piece, but as others have said, the instruments would have been out of tune and possibly warped. So not only would they sound bad in playing on bad instruments, but they’d sound even worse as their instruments got out of tune.

Have you heard instruments playing together that aren’t tuned properly? The dissonance can be nearly physical.

Honestly, until you hit mid 50s to 60s, it’s really not worth it.

Esthier on January 23, 2009 at 11:28 AM

[Esthier on January 23, 2009 at 10:59 AM]

Not to mention that a $1,000 repair here and a $1,000 repair there and pretty soon it will bust a $200M budget.

Dusty on January 23, 2009 at 11:30 AM

Simpsons–er, China did it first to the international viewing audience!

TastyPanda on January 23, 2009 at 11:35 AM

What could have been an instructive moment, where the new President, who is far too impressed with himself, IMHO, is confronted with the simple truth of a great hymn, instead turned into yet another excuse for people who fancy themselves as being terribly clever to pat themselves on the back. That’s Industrial-Strength Irony, right there…

gridlock2 on January 23, 2009 at 10:47 AM

Lol that so sums it up. I love Simple Gifts and also thought “this might wind up being absolutely apropos for this man at this time. Then my mind sort of tuned out the entire scale and arpagios ladden mid-section, only to reconnect to the “Patriot” theme like ending.

I was also expecting more of the Juarraisc Park march… Star wars Imperial march would have been too entertaining.

Now, when in marching band I have played in weather cold enough to freeze my keypads, for my silver flute (as mentioned above) this is a repair, but not a tragedy. With strings or a wooden instrument of any type I wouldn’t have them out in freezing or near freezing weather. I think it would have been hooky in the extreme to announce “And now performing to a prerecorded sound track…..” This is, in the great scheme of things not very important.

darcee on January 23, 2009 at 11:38 AM

The Milli Vanilli Inauguration

The headline is fake.

Kralizec on January 23, 2009 at 11:41 AM

Don’t pretend it’s live when it’s not and make everyone look dishonest, including the performers, who had no control over how the performance was presented.

How difficult is that?

Impossible.
Next question.

Amendment X on January 23, 2009 at 12:09 PM

I was sure I heard a Keith Richards quote perfect for this once, but I couldn’t find it just now. So here’s this instead:

“Everyone talks about rock these days; the problem is they forget about the roll.”

HarneyPeak on January 23, 2009 at 12:13 PM

Fake but accurate. Common theme among Democrats.

Weebork on January 23, 2009 at 12:29 PM

Not gonna worry too much about this.
Wouldnt be prudent at this juncture.

Mike D. on January 23, 2009 at 12:44 PM

Yes, it would have been possible to perform the piece, but as others have said, the instruments would have been out of tune and possibly warped. So not only would they sound bad in playing on bad instruments, but they’d sound even worse as their instruments got out of tune.

Have you heard instruments playing together that aren’t tuned properly? The dissonance can be nearly physical.

Honestly, until you hit mid 50s to 60s, it’s really not worth it.

Esthier on January 23, 2009 at 11:28 AM

But what if the instruments were not subjected to a temp shock? What if they were left in 40 degrees for a day or two, and then tuned before the ceremony?

Look! I have proof a cello can be played when the temps are a bit above freezing [skip to 1:10]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZn_VBgkPNY&feature=rec-HM-fresh+div

:-P

toliver on January 23, 2009 at 12:46 PM

toliver on January 23, 2009 at 12:46 PM

Can be played and should be played are two different things. The vid is blocked here, but I’ll take your word for it.

Esthier on January 23, 2009 at 12:48 PM

NBC is quite comfortable with sins of omission.

JeffB. on January 23, 2009 at 12:50 PM

Can be played and should be played are two different things. The vid is blocked here, but I’ll take your word for it.

Esthier on January 23, 2009 at 12:48

:40 is even better, but it’s not really a live vid. It’s a video statement made by a director, so I’m half-joking here. I don’t play that kind of music or those instruments, so I can’t do more than speculate.

Oh, the vid is Ma “playing” the prelude from Bach´s Cello Suite No. 1.

toliver on January 23, 2009 at 12:51 PM

I just want a copy of the recording. It was lovely.

Now back to business. Email Obummer from the White House website and tell him what’s on your mind, and I bet it ain’t music.

Last is First on January 23, 2009 at 12:54 PM

fogw on January 23, 2009 at 10:41 AM

+1 for undisputed credibility.

TMK on January 23, 2009 at 12:54 PM

What a mess
they couldnt even be honest

Personally i wondered (since i play guitar)
how they were able to do this?
because i cant keep my strings in tune when the heater turns on in my house..

Now i know
its was all FAKE
Just like obama and the liberals all are
FAKE

jcila on January 23, 2009 at 12:59 PM

toliver on January 23, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Ah. Thanks for the honesty. You could have completely lied to me without my ever knowing.

Esthier on January 23, 2009 at 1:02 PM

What a mess
they couldnt even be honest

Personally i wondered (since i play guitar)
how they were able to do this?
because i cant keep my strings in tune when the heater turns on in my house..

Now i know
its was all FAKE
Just like obama and the liberals all are
FAKE

jcila on January 23, 2009 at 12:59 PM

Acoustic or electric?

toliver on January 23, 2009 at 1:04 PM

Acoustic or electric?

toliver on January 23, 2009 at 1:04 PM

It shouldn’t matter.

Esthier on January 23, 2009 at 1:06 PM

toliver on January 23, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Ah. Thanks for the honesty. You could have completely lied to me without my ever knowing.

Esthier on January 23, 2009 at 1:02 PM

I play R&B, rock, funk and so on. I know a bit about wooden electric instruments and how they react to temps, but a cello or violin is another matter.

toliver on January 23, 2009 at 1:07 PM

It shouldn’t matter.

Esthier on January 23, 2009 at 1:06 PM

Acoustic guitars generally don’t have a truss rod, so it does. Am electric [with truss rod] can handle temp changes better. One just has to wait for it to adjust, and then do a “set-up”.

toliver on January 23, 2009 at 1:10 PM

toliver on January 23, 2009 at 1:10 PM

Sure, one is better, but both would be effected.

Esthier on January 23, 2009 at 1:13 PM

Who cares.

What a bunch of bitter peeing in the cornflakes this is.

Dave Rywall on January 23, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Everyone knows that musicians and actors are always fair game for the harshest mocking.

HarneyPeak on January 23, 2009 at 1:26 PM

Since when did the word “hate” become a verb?

CarolynM on January 23, 2009 at 8:54 AM

‘To hate’ is a verb infinitive. ‘Hate’ is a noun. Just sayin’.

baldilocks on January 23, 2009 at 1:27 PM

What a bunch of bitter peeing in the cornflakes this is.

Dave Rywall on January 23, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Canadian Breakfast of Champions.

fogw on January 23, 2009 at 1:27 PM

Thanks to the musicians for weighing in.

baldilocks on January 23, 2009 at 1:34 PM

Thanks to the musicians for weighing in.

baldilocks on January 23, 2009 at 1:34 PM

Sadly, Luciano Pavarotti is no longer of this blog.

(Ugh, sorry.)

HarneyPeak on January 23, 2009 at 1:39 PM

I swore I wouldn’t come back, but here I am.

Okay, so now the bad guys are NBC.

Well, of course they’re the bad guys. I’d never argue with that!! But you guys are like someone who goes to a restaurant to find rat droppings on the table, and a roach on your plate, and then complain that the menu was misspelled!! Anyone reading this would never know that Chris Matthews has a thrill up his leg, or that he admitted in so many words that NBC is the official Obama-love network. They’d never suspect that Olberman or Maddow have said some of the insane, hateful things they’ve said. They’d think you guys couldn’t come up with a serious complaint about NBC, so you’re trying to make a big to-do about them failing to report the string-syncing.

I’m not crazy about this practice, believe me. As a musician, I’d love to see people quit doing it (though what most people would notice is that the music wouldn’t sound as good to them). But at a time when men are biting dogs left and right, this is a totally “dog-bites-man” story. And as much as I can find to fault NBC for, failing to report “dog bites man” isn’t on the list.

RegularJoe on January 23, 2009 at 2:00 PM

A rap artist wouldn’t have had to worry about breaking strings.

hawkdriver on January 23, 2009 at 2:43 PM

so you’re trying to make a big to-do about them failing to report the string-syncing.

Again, if they’re willing to lie about something that trivial, what else will they lie about?

Esthier on January 23, 2009 at 3:07 PM

Later, Teddy Kennedy was seen playing a session of “air guitar”…

44Magnum on January 23, 2009 at 3:23 PM

Again, if they’re willing to lie about something that trivial, what else will they lie about?

Esthier on January 23, 2009 at 3:07 PM

I think the public may be cynical enough these days to expect “lip syncing” during large, micromanaged events.

While I really can’t stand the mainstream media, how can we expect them to poop on the inauguration during the inauguration? What they should have done [and I don't know for sure that no networks didn't], is say “BTW, due to the weather, there was a change made regarding the musical performances…”

What happened isn’t really a “lie”, it’s par for the course.

toliver on January 23, 2009 at 4:02 PM

“BTW, due to the weather, there was a change made regarding the musical performances…”

Agreed. They should be as open about our government as they are about China’s.

Esthier on January 23, 2009 at 4:07 PM

But at a time when men are biting dogs left and right, this is a totally “dog-bites-man” story.

Nothing wrong with going for the low hanging fruit every once and a while. They’re not terminally ill and they aren’t having seizures; they are faking their gig so I say let em’ have it.

HarneyPeak on January 23, 2009 at 4:43 PM

I heard a little bit of it on TV, just before I had to see the fetal specialist on Tue.

Something told me that it was, indeed, a pre-recorded track. Strings like that usually don’t sound that well in freezing weather.

Kind of reminds me of Whitney Houston’s Star-Spangled Banner performance at the Super Bowl in ’91. Sounded good, but it was all pre-recorded.

newton on January 23, 2009 at 5:07 PM

It’s not crazy to assume that the mid-day temperature in DC would be significantly over 30.

This is not an issue.

toliver on January 23, 2009 at 10:21 AM

Especially since you all believe in global warming.

Corsair on January 23, 2009 at 5:27 PM

Heard this on Rush today. HILARIOUS! “Was anything that happened at that inauguration REAL?” :)

hockey2k5 on January 23, 2009 at 5:47 PM

Heard this on Rush today. HILARIOUS! “Was anything that happened at that inauguration REAL?” :)

hockey2k5 on January 23, 2009 at 5:47 PM

Unfortunately it was all too real.

Corsair on January 23, 2009 at 5:50 PM

Obama and Roberts should have pre-recorded the Swearing In, too.

Ashlee Obama Simpson!

D’oh!

profitsbeard on January 23, 2009 at 5:59 PM

Ed, this post of yours and the following thread are below Hot Air standards. This is petty and ignorant.

toliver on January 23, 2009 at 10:11 AM

I think that the people who proposed the quartet when it would be too cold to do it live and the people who did not cancel the quartet are equally ignorant.

They are more to blame than the commenters who do not understand the susceptibility of all four instruments to the cold temperatures.

slp on January 23, 2009 at 6:20 PM

i dont recall a time ever where string instruments ever got so much attention.
as a viola player, i understand you dont play outside in the cold weather, it’s just plain stupid.
just like the incoming administration.
hail to the fucktard cheif already, now go do your damn job

UNREPENTANT CONSERVATIVE CAPITOLIST on January 23, 2009 at 7:04 PM

It’s all so beautifully fitting. :D

ddrintn on January 23, 2009 at 7:34 PM

Just saw this story on ABC news. They were actually playing something; on real instruments, too, and I didn’t see any strings popping or wood warping or cracking into tiny splinters. Diane Sawyer said they played so folks close by could hear.((Or so she says! But let’s pass on that for now.)) They probably sounded fine. Not ideal, but fine.

The point here, I contend, is that of elitism. If you’re reputable enough, talented enough, smart enough, enlightened enough, you don’t have to be accountable for your foibles, mishaps, blunders, loss or embarrassments.

HarneyPeak on January 23, 2009 at 7:35 PM

As a violinist, I know you cant have a string instrument out in cold weather, it would be sounding bad in 30 seconds. But they should have not hid this!!!

clover_dave on January 23, 2009 at 8:52 PM

These orchestrators do just that. It all has to be perfect. If they can’t control you they’ll find a way to legislate or invalidate you in the courts they now control. Believe it, they now have the power. We are, for the next few years, screamers to a void.

PaCadle on January 23, 2009 at 8:57 PM

“This wasn’t the band I thought I knew” -Obamessiah

thinkagain on January 24, 2009 at 12:16 AM

Not too upset about this one. For starters, Perlman plays one of the finest Stradivarius violins ever made (made aroud the year 1700). It is easily worth more than $1M. He would NOT play that instrument outdoors in temperatures so cold. Ma plays a cello worth well over $2M. I’ve got no problem with them playing along with a tape. I’m sure they were using alternative instruments.

As to pitch, it is not only the strings that are affected by the cold, but the entire body. The neck, bridge, etc. They are all affected and at temperatures like last week it would be virutally impossible to play in tune. The dexterity needed for strings is also quite hard to pull off.

I’ve got friends in almost every military band in DC including some that were in the parade and others that were close to the podium. They said it was REALLY cold out there. I’ve marched in parades where my pads froze closed.

No problems with this… but it would have been nice to see menton of the recording due to the weather. So much for transparency, right?

cannonball on January 24, 2009 at 1:39 AM

Here’s some geek string player info about Yo Yo Ma’s cello for the innauguration.

And if you were in orchestra or band in high school you might enjoy this musical comedy clip.

cannonball on January 24, 2009 at 1:45 AM

It’s not crazy to assume that the mid-day temperature in DC would be significantly over 30.

This is not an issue.

toliver on January 23, 2009 at 10:21 AM

Especially since you all believe in global warming.

Corsair on January 23, 2009 at 5:27 PM

WTF are you talking about?

toliver on January 24, 2009 at 9:42 AM

Florman said when Obama made his request for the quartet, because of the delicacy of the instruments and the size of the grand piano, there was some consideration given to having the quartet play at the Capitol and have their performance beamed to the world.

Obama wanted them there. Perhaps he didn’t understand the potential difficulties that could arise do to low temps.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090123/ap_en_mu/music_inauguration_quartet

toliver on January 24, 2009 at 12:02 PM

I sense folks are in a huff because it gives them a reason to vent at Obama/Democrats, but with the technological advances of late, this is far more pervasive than you suppose. Do you know how many big-game national anthems you’ve seen where they have done the same thing? You know how many live concerts they do this in? Plenty. Usually it is because of the terrible acoustics and echo in stadiums. That famous performance of the national anthem that Whitney Houston did years ago? Taped. Sometimes it’s only for part of a song or part of the concert (like a song with really high notes that they cannot hit night after night), sometimes the voices are live and some of the backing musicians are miming their parts to a recording, sometimes vocalists are getting super-fast real time pitch correction on their voices during a live concert, sometimes it’s because an artist is trying to do ridiculous choreography and can’t cover all the singing at the same time. But it is a pervasive practice; you’d be surprised.

By the way, I liked the John Williams piece.

okonkolo on January 24, 2009 at 1:10 PM

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