Day 7: January 20, 2009
Part Three: The MTV Youth Ball
The Washington Hilton
We were SO excited on Monday when we were given tickets to one of the two televised balls, the MTV Youth Ball. There were 10 official balls that President and Mrs. Obama attended. The two televised balls, The Neighborhood Ball (televised live on ABC) and The MTV Youth Ball (televised live on MTV) were evidently the smallest and least crowded balls.
We were amazed that the ballroom wasn't crowded at all. That meant that we had a close-up view of all of the evening's events and it was really easy to get around.
We got there at 9PM and the ball was just getting started. Our seats were right beside the MTV stage where MTV News Team member Sway was hosting the live broadcast of the ball. We had only been there a few minutes when Kid Rock (at left) took to the stage. His set was great and he sang "All Summer Long".
Next up was Kanye West. I didn't know his music so well, but everybody else seemed to. The crowd was totally pumped for his set. We saw Rosario Dawson, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, and other celebrities all having fun.
Usher was one of the 'reporters' for MTV's live broadcast of the ball. During one of his breaks, Usher invited us back into his "private getaway" to meet and talk to him and have our picture taken with him. We also thought that the lady with him was his handler (the person who makes sure he's not being mauled by fans and that he gets where he's supposed to be on time for the broadcast). But some friends from MTV later told us that she was his wife, Tameka. They were both so nice to us. Usher has some new fans in our family now.
While the Marine Band was setting up for the Obama's first dance, we were sitting beside the MTV stage talking to some of the staff. One of them said into their walkie-talkie "We have Tobey," and I realized that I was standing right beside Spiderman! Tobey McGuire talked to us for a second and was so nice when we asked if we could have our picture taken with him. It was so cool. I mean...SPIDEY! Fun.
Next, President and Mrs. Obama arrived. President Obama spoke about the important role America's youth played in the election and about how he hoped the youth would put their enthusiasm into service and building a better world for their futures. Then they danced while the Marine band played "At Last". The ballroom was lit up the entire time by all of the flashes going off. The Obama's were definitely the biggest stars of the night.
Finally, our friends from the convention, Fall Out
Boy, came out and rocked the house. They played some of their big hits, like 'Thanks for the Memories' and 'Dance, Dance'. Since they came right after the Obama's, everyone was really hyped and dancing. We read later that the guys from FOB were among the many celebrities who got to the swearing-in late (as in NOT an hour or two early...) and weren't allowed to go to their seats. They actually climbed trees on the Mall and watched the swearing-in from there. Fortunately, the got to meet the Obama's backstage at the ball.
Since I still had casts on both of my legs from my surgeries, I didn't try to walk into the crowd. But one of the ball staffers walked Wes and Mom right to the front of the stage. Wes said it was really fun.
At the end of their set, Pete Wentz threw his guitar pick to Wesley. But it bounced off of Mom and some guy picked it up off the ground before Wes could grab it. Wes was not pleased since he's a big fan of Pete's AND he plays the guitar. Still, he had a great time watching Pete, Patrick, Joe and Andy play from 10 feet away.
Before we left, Mom and I danced (as much as I could in casts!) up on the dais.
Overall, it was a great night. Washingtonian Magazine (which rated all of the balls) rated the Youth Ball 20/20--the best of the Inaugural balls. I totally agree.
TRIVIA: The first inaugural ball was held in honor of George Washington in May of 1789. But, it wasn't until the 1809 inauguration of President James Madison that the Inaugural Ball became a fixture on Washington DC's social calendar. In 1809, 400 ball tickets were sold for $4 each.
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