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B-52s call off White House state dinner performance

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(The Hill) — The B-52s are bowing out of their White House performance at the state dinner for Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, with first lady Jill Biden suggesting the band would opt out due to the Israel-Hamas war.

The “Love Shack” singers were poised to entertain guests on Wednesday at the black-tie event. But at a media preview held on the eve of the dinner, the first lady announced, “While we had initially planned for the legendary B-52s to perform their iconic dance and party music, we are now in a time when so many are facing sorrow and pain.”

“So we made a few adjustments to the entertainment portion of the evening,” she said.

The group will instead attend the state dinner as guests, according to Biden.

“The president’s own Marine Band and the Army and Air Force Strolling Strings will provide instrumental music for the dinner,” she added.

While Biden didn’t specifically cite the conflict in the Middle East as the reason behind the switch, the decision to tweak the line-up at the White House gala comes in the wake of Hamas’s terrorist attack against Israel on Oct. 7.

On Tuesday, the first lady said, “The United States and Australia may stand on opposite sides of the globe — different hemispheres, different seasons — but despite our distance, we share so much: A dedication to democracy, a reverence for freedom, a devotion to equality and a love for the natural wonders of our nation.”

—Cate Martel contributed.

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