Washington — If the first British invasion of the White House ended with the house afire, the latest had Barack and Michelle Obama and their kids rocking out in their seats Wednesday night at a tribute concert for former Beatle Paul McCartney.
The setting was the ornate East Room, chandeliers overhead, George and Martha Washington portraits on the walls and an all-star lineup of performers cranking out some of McCartney’s greatest hits.
Stevie Wonder had the Obamas clapping to “We Can Work It Out.” The Jonas Brothers did “Baby You Can Drive My Car.” Corinne Bailey Rae slowed things down with “Blackbird.” And Faith Hill stroked “Long and Winding Road.”
It was McCartney himself who brought down the house by belting out “Michelle,” aiming his words straight at a first lady named Michelle.
He said he’d been “itching” to perform it at the White House, and asked the president’s forgiveness in advance. The first lady was soon mouthing the words along with McCartney and the president was swaying in his seat.
After serenading the first lady with the lyrics “I love you, I love you, I love you,” McCartney joked that he just might be the “first guy ever to be punched out by a president.”
The night was built around Obama’s presentation to McCartney of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, awarded by the Library of Congress.