It wouldn’t be a celebration without Patti Smith singing “People Have the Power,” and the legend did just that, teaming up with Circa for a performance on Inauguration Day Wednesday.
Smith’s performance occurs five minutes into the clip, accompanied by Lenny Kaye and her children Jesse Paris and Jackson. “It’s a beautiful night,” she told the camera. “We have a new year to look forward to in America, a new administration, and a new president and vice president, and our democracy seems to be quite intact. [I] just wish everyone a better year. 2020 has been a Blakeian year, but I think the glad day is coming.”
Smith also spoke about her late husband Fred Sonic Smith, who co-wrote the track. “Fred wrote it so that it might be embraced and it might inspire people globally, and it has,” she said. “His wishes came true and made the words ring out in the new year.”
She then ripped into the track during a montage of protesters and organizations. The video also showed Smith and Kaye’s performance of the song last fall for early voters in New York City, as well as Smith reading at Amnesty International in 1978.
Smith is one of the many musicians celebrating the inauguration of President Joe Biden. The Celebrating America concert — hosted by Tom Hanks — was held on Wednesday, which included a star-studded lineup of Bruce Springsteen, Foo Fighters, Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, John Legend, and more. The New Radicals also reunited for the first time in 22 years to play “You Get What You Give.“