President Obama warbled a few lines of an Al Green song recently and that’s all it took for a cadre of blues artists, including Rolling Stone Mick Jagger, to demand an encore at the Red, White and Blues concert at the White House.
Sir Mick was joined by blues greats like B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck, Keb Mo, Grammy new artist winner Susan Tedeschi and Sehemekia Copeland in the East Room of the White House.
The blues musicians were cranking out the finale, a rousing rendition of “Sweet Home Chicago” when Guy urged the president to join in. “You gotta keep it up,” he said, referring to the President’s Al Green performance.
When Jagger handed the President a mic, Obama, a Chicago resident, cut loose.
“Come on… baby don’t you want to go,” the president sang, before handing off the mic to King., He jumped back in at the end to sing the final refrain “Sweet Home Chicago.”
“This music speaks to something universal,” Obama said. “No one goes through life without both joy and pain, triumph and sorrow. The blues gets all of that, sometimes with just one lyric or one note.”
King, 86, kick off the night with a raucous “Let the Good Times Roll,” and “The Thrill is Gone.”
Before he was even handed the mic, Obama and wife Michelle, were jumping to the beat in their seats.
Beck played “Brush With the Blues,” followed by Jagger who sang “I Can’t Turn You Loose” and then joined Beck on “Commit a Crime.”
Jagger got the president and his wife up out of their seats, swaying and clapping to the music, and picked up the pace with “Miss You,” performed with Copeland and Tedeschi.
The concert will air as part of the “In Performance at the White House” series on PBS. Check out the video below.