Performing for members of the military and their families on the beach at Camp Pendleton was an offer Destiny's Child couldn't refuse."We know that [the Marines] requested the performers," Beyoncé told Rolling Stone backstage at the Oceanside, California, base on Friday night. "For them to even consider us is an honor. With all that they've done for us, we had to be here."
Billed as "Rockin' the Corps, An American Thank You," the diverse bill also featured Kiss, Godsmack, Ja Rule, Ted Nugent, Hootie and the Blowfish, and an unannounced solo turn by Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora.
"It's an honor and a blessing to be here," Godsmack frontman Sully Erna said before his band did double duty, playing both its own material and serving as the backing band for Nugent on a smoking version of "Cat Scratch Fever" and an extended "Stranglehold." Nugent had also kicked off the festivities with an instrumental guitar rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner," a la Jimi Hendrix.
Sambora busted out revamped, softer renditions of Bon Jovi's "Living On a Prayer," "Wanted Dead or Alive" -- prefaced with a snippet of the Allman Brothers' "Midnight Rider" -- and "It's My Life."
Still, the crowd had no problem with more familiar versions of hits, singing along to Hootie's "Only Wanna Be With You" and pumping their fists to a ten-minute medley of Ja Rule, who was introduced by Mary J. Blige. Destiny's Child had fans dancing in the sand to "Bootylicious" and the apt "Soldier" and Kiss delivered high-energy takes on anthems like "Rock and Roll All Nite" before fireworks shot over the beach.