‘A Capitol Fourth’ presents Beach Boys, Jimmy Buffett, Temptations in DC

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'A Capitol Fourth' (Jason Fraley)

WASHINGTON — Happy birthday, America! Celebrate at the 38th annual “A Capitol Fourth.”

John Stamos will host the concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

“I had such a great time last year, but this year I get to bring my son — and that is gonna be something else,” Stamos told WTOP. “It’s his first trip, and he is gonna see his Old Man — right there in D.C., ‘[A] Capitol Fourth’, some fireworks. But the best part of being at the ‘Capitol Fourth’ last year was just seeing so many people so happy and so together. I love the idea of seeing all of us together, singing and dancing and celebrating being Americans.”

This year features another all-star lineup, including Stamos’ longtime pals The Beach Boys.

“John Stamos has been coming out to see us since we did a show on the monument grounds in 1985,” lead singer Mike Love said. “He was Blackie on ‘General Hospital,’ but now he is more known as Uncle Jesse [on ‘Full House’]. He did a great job last year emceeing the show, and they asked him back this year. They asked us back as well — two years in a row!”

Which Beach Boys songs can we expect to hear?

“I think ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ is a pretty good one; ‘I Get Around’ is another good one,” Love said. “We’ve got several of them to choose from, so it’s just up to the producers what they actually want us to do. We’ve got a whole bunch of songs we’re known for. I think you’ll tune in and you’ll be pleased. I think you’ll hear some familiar sounds from the Beach Boys.”

Extra special this year will be a proposed Beach Boys duet with island music icon Jimmy Buffett, who’s also bringing the cast of his new Broadway musical “Escape to Margaritaville.”

“We’ve talked to Jimmy Buffett about joining us on ‘Kokomo,'” Love said. “I can’t be 100 percent sure until we’ve actually done it, but the talk is leading in that direction. I think that would be a lot of fun. … I think we’ll split the leads. We’re going to record our version of it and then send it to him, just to give him an idea of where we want him to come in.”

You’ll also see The Temptations, led by the last surviving original member Otis Williams.

“They only want us to do a very abbreviated amount of time, so we’ve got to try and select something that our fans will really appreciate,” Williams told WTOP. “So, naturally I would imagine ‘Ain’t Too Proud to Beg’ and ‘My Girl.’ … Whatever we do, it’s going to be us!”

The lineup also features Grammy-winning group Pentatonix; multiplatinum pop star Andy Grammer; Broadway icon and D.C. native Chita Rivera; four time Grammy-winning soprano Renée Fleming; multiplatinum country star Luke Combs; “American Idol” alum Lauren Alaina; “The Voice” finalist Kyla Jade; and 12-time Grammy-winning gospel legend CeCe Winans.

You’ll also hear acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell, the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jack Everly, Patrick Lundy & The Ministers of Music, the Choral Arts Society of Washington, the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, the U.S. Army Ceremonial Band, and members of the Armed Forces Color Guard presenting flags provided by the Military District of Washington D.C.

It all culminates with a fireworks display over the picturesque setting of the nation’s capital.

The 38th annual broadcast airs live on PBS from 8 to 9:30 p.m., as well as on the American Forces Network for U.S. troops serving around the world. The program can also be heard live in stereo on NPR member stations and live-streamed on PBS.org, YouTube and Facebook.

“It’s absolutely the best-produced, most wonderful show encompassing all kinds of musical tastes,” Love said. “We’re blessed to be a part of it. If you’re able to make it out to the steps of the Capitol, absolutely do. It’s a wonderful evening and couldn’t be a better show. It’s got a great tradition for the greatest cause on Earth: Independence Day for the United States!”

Find more details on the official event website. Listen to our chats with Love and Williams below:

WTOP's Jason Fraley chats with Mike Love of the Beach Boys (Jason Fraley)
WTOP's Jason Fraley chats with Otis Williams of The Temptations (Jason Fraley)

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Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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