Beyoncé’s performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” at President Obama’s second inauguration was fabulous, but it was actually pre-fabricated. The New York Post has confirmed that she did, in fact, use a pre-recorded track at the ceremony.
“All music is pre-recorded for the ceremony because there are so many eventualities and conditions that day,” Kristin DuBois, a rep for [The United States Marine Band] tells Page Six. “We performed, live, the band. But we received last-minute word that Beyoncé was going to use the pre-recorded vocal track. Those were the instructions we were given. We don’t know what the reason why.”
Judging by a photo posted to the singer’s Instagram, she apparently recorded the track used at the inauguration with the Marine Band at a studio the night before the event.
Colonel Michael J. Colburn, the band director, told BuzzFeed yesterday that Beyoncé did not rehearse with the band until the night before the ceremony. “We had Kelly [Clarkson] in over the weekend to rehearse and record,” he said. “Beyoncé, she’s getting ready for the Super Bowl, so we didn’t have a chance to do anything with her until last night so it’s a very, very tight window of opportunity.”
It is actually common for musicians to pre-record their performance as a precaution before inaugural events, and it’s more to do with making sure that things go off without a hitch than for covering up someone’s flaws as a performer. In 2009, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman had to use a pre-recorded track due to bitter cold weather and strong winds.
It is unclear why Beyoncé used a recording while Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor, who also sang at the inauguration, did not.