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biden inauguration

Garth Brooks says he will play Biden's inauguration, calling it 'a statement of unity'

Country superstar Garth Brooks has friends in high places, too, of course. At the request of incoming first lady Dr. Jill Biden, Brooks said Monday, he will play President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday, making him the third artist confirmed for the inaugural ceremony, along with Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez. Bruce Springsteen and other artists will perform at a separate primetime TV afterparty hosted by Tom Hanks.

"This is a great day in our household," Brooks said at a press conference Monday. "This is not a political statement. This is a statement of unity." He did not disclose what he will perform, saying only it will be a solo performance of "more of the broken down, bare-bones stuff," and won't include "We Shall Be Free," the song he played at Barack Obama's 2009 inaugural. Brooks noted that he has performed for every president since Jimmy Carter, with the exception of Ronald Reagan, and said he did not play at President Trump's 2017 inaugural, despite being "lucky enough to be asked," because "we already had dates in Cincinnati."

Biden and his team, "the main thing they're pushing now is unity, and that's right down my alley," Brooks said. "I don't know. I might be the only Republican at this place. But reaching out, together ... I want us to offer a differing opinion and hug each other at the same football game. ... I think as long as you have people like the Bidens who are hellbent on making things good ... that makes me feel good. Because I want to spend the next 10 years of my life not divided. I'm so tired of being divided."