- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Festivities surrounding President-elect Donald Trump’s swearing-in suffered another setback Monday when a Bruce Springsteen cover band withdrew its plans to play an inauguration party days after Tony winner Jennifer Holliday similarly canceled a gig of her own.

The B Street Band will no longer be performing at the Garden State Inaugural Ball in Washington on Thursday out of respect to Mr. Springsteen, a staunch critic of the president-elect, its keyboardist said in a statement Monday.

“With deepest apologies to our fans and the New Jersey Inaugural Ball committee, the B Street Band is withdrawing from performing at this year’s inauguration Gala,’ said founder and keyboardist Will Forte, 63.

“Our decision is based SOLELY on the respect and gratitude we have for Bruce and the E Street Band,” he added, calling Mr. Springsteen’s music “the foundation of our livelihood.”

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Mr. Forte said his band received “thousands of emails from both sides” after reports emerged recently involving their Garden State gala gig, particularly given Mr. Springsteen objections to the president-elect.

“We’re standing out in the storm right here,” Mr. Forte told his colleagues recently, the magazine reported. “We gotta get out of the storm.”

The tribute band’s decision to bow out from the gala came two days after Ms. Holliday, a Broadway actress and singer, said she would no longer be performing a previously scheduled inauguration gig due to concerns raised about her participation by members of the LGBT community.

“I Sincerely apologize for my lapse of judgement, for being uneducated on the issues that affect every American at this crucial time in history and for causing such dismay and heartbreak to my fans,” she wrote in an open letter published Saturday.

The B Street Band initially agreed to play this year’s Garden State gala in 2013 after performing at ceremonies surrounding both of President Obama’s inaugurations, Mr. Forte said.

“It’s not about the candidate or who was elected; it was about the office of the presidency. I was performing for that,” he told Rolling Stone.

Their decision to perform spurred a criticism days before showtime, however, and even garnered reactions on Twitter from members of Mr. Springsteen’s E Street Band.

“Please tell me this is more fake news. Or at least a joke,” founding bassist Garry Tallent tweeted last week.

“Nice guys. Met them. I wouldn’t say right or wrong. Up to them. But it’s naive to think one can separate Art and Politics. Art IS Politics,” tweeted guitarist Steven Van Zandt.

Mr. Springsteen, 67, supported Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton against Mr. Trump in last year’s presidential election, and performed at a rally on her behalf the night before Election Day.

Weighing in then, the singer said Mr. Trump “has the profound lack of decency that would allow him to prioritize his own interests and ego before American democracy itself.”


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