FoxNews.com was inside the Washington Convention Center Monday night for The Inaugural Ball (the separate Commander in Chief’s Ball was held in the same building). The following are running updates from the scene:
9:54 p.m. — Stevie Wonder is taking the stage at the Inaugural ball. The crowd has thinned considerably since the Obamas danced. Vice President Biden and his wife are expected at the ball within the next hour. Other singers slated to perform include the Glee cast and Smokey Robinson.
9:24 p.m. — There’s commotion in the hall, as crowds rush to watch the Obamas dance.
“Run — take your shoes off and run!” someone says.
Another: “There they are. Right there dancing. I drove from Alabama to watch them dance.”
Yet another guest to the ball was less impressed. “It’s been four years and he still can’t dance.”
9:14 p.m. — A hitch before the president’s arrival. The escalators going up to the next level have stopped working, forcing several people who want to leave the ballroom to trek up the stairs in heels and “good clothes.”
Overheard on the escalators: “This sucks. I could have stayed home and watched this on TV.”
8:43 p.m. — The flicker of flashes is seen all over the ballroom as the crowd waits for the president and first lady to arrive. The crowd cheered when country star Brad Paisley took the stage. One woman in a big red gown and white cowboy hat could be overheard saying she had come only to see Paisley.
8:31 p.m. — Secret Service is ushering all the media outlets to their spots to get ready for the president and first lady, who we’re told are running late to the event.
Some media outlets were upset when told they could not take pictures of the crowd. Convention spokespeople backed down quickly after reporters and photographers objected to the restrictions.
8:06 p.m. — Dressed in a red, floor-length ball gown, Alicia Keys kicks off the festivities at the piano. There are thousands of people still waiting to get inside the convention center. The lines inside rival those outside.
7:51 p.m. — Hundreds of people dressed in black tie are filing into the convention center. People are being patted down through airport-like metal detectors. Inauguration festivities are running about an hour behind.
7:44 p.m. — They might have the best seats in the house. A D.C. couple was taking in the inauguration spectacle from their front stoop a block away, sitting and sipping wine while the balls got started. When asked if they voted for Obama, they just laughed and waved.
7:37 p.m. — A generally peaceful protest can be seen outside the Washington Convention Center, as festivities begin. Both of the balls are happening in the same location — protests were staged between the two main entrances.
Roughly 10 protesters here, holding big signs mostly pertaining to the U.S. drone program.
One banner said: “Stop killer drones.” Another said: “Stop war.”
— Barnini Chakraborty