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White House cancels performance by B-52s at Australian state dinner

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcome Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Jodie Haydon to the White House in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday evening after the first lady announced the B-52s' state dinner performance Wednesday was canceled due to world crises. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
1 of 7 | President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcome Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Jodie Haydon to the White House in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday evening after the first lady announced the B-52s' state dinner performance Wednesday was canceled due to world crises. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 24 (UPI) -- The White House has canceled the B-52s' state dinner performance for Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, as first lady Jill Biden revealed Tuesday "a few adjustments to the entertainment portion of the evening" due to the Israel-Hamas war.

The first lady announced that the band, known for songs such as "Love Shack," "Rock Lobster" and "Roam," would not be performing as she previewed Wednesday's festivities.

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"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," she said.

Instead the band will attend the event as guests, according to the first lady who will host her fourth state dinner Wednesday night, and "the president's own Marine band and the Army and Air Force strolling strings will provide instrumental music for the dinner."

On Tuesday, the first lady provided a preview of the state dinner, which will feature elements of the "vibrant Australian spring and crisp American autumn."

"The moment guests walk into the pavilion tomorrow evening, they will be immersed in color," Carlos Elizondo, White House social secretary, told reporters, as he outlined the colorful fabrics, gold chandeliers and roses that will provide atmosphere for the state event.

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The decor will honor the cultures of both the United States and Australia. The backdrop to the dinner space will include a canvas of flowers with American monarch butterflies and Australian Cairns birdwing butterflies. The table decor will also feature apples, pears, grapes and berries, which grow in both countries.

Katie Button, James Beard award-winner as well as chef and co-founder of Asheville, N.C., Cúrate, will be the guest chef for the dinner, which will be prepared by an all-female team.

The state dinner will feature "American ingredients and innovation," starting with farro and roasted beet salad and butternut squash soup. The main course will serve up sarsaparilla-braised short ribs and for dessert, guests will enjoy hazelnut and chocolate mousse cake.

"A perfectly delicious end to the meal and a festive entry to the upcoming holiday season," Button said, as she outlined her menu.

On Tuesday night, the first lady and President Joe Biden welcomed Prime Minister Albanese and Jodie Haydon to the White House where they sat down for a private dinner.

"We are excited to build our strong friendship and show them pieces of our country that make us proud," the first lady said. "Nurturing our partnerships and relationships with our allies is critically important, especially in these tumultuous times."

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