I thought Obama's speech sucked. It was nothing more than a cut-and-paste of the most recent six inaugural addresses, delivered in a harsh, scolding tone. Not vintage Obama at all.
Aretha Franklin is, in my view, the most important artist this country has produced in any medium except film. She's also pretty much done. Every time I hear her sing now I end up cringing, stopping my ears, and then running to play some vintage Aretha, YGaB (my favorite of hers, and one of my favorite albums ever), or I Never Loved A Man, to wash the sound out of my ears.
Garth Brooks is an awesome performer, energetic, charismatic, warm, and he looks like he's out there having the time of his life, and he wants you to have the time of your life, too. I don't even like country music. But I'd go to a Brooks concert, just because it would be a blast. Of course, I'd probably end up getting into a fight with a drunk redneck or two, but that would just add to the experience.
Watching all the red and blue up on the stage, the eclectic choice of performers, makes me almost think Obama can pull this "Bringing us together" stuff off. He certainly seems determined. But if he fails....