Gov. Pat McCrory banged out a drum solo on stage at the Lincoln Theater in Raleigh on Thursday night, kicking off the inauguration festivities.
The mostly young crowd, some in suits, some in flannel, clapped along and a few started singing Queen's "We Will Rock You" to McCrory's bass line. "There we go," McCrory said.
The Republican governor, wearing a sport coat and no tie, seemed at ease at the event. When he left the stage, he listened to the music from in front of the stage, shunning the roped-off VIP section saved for him on the club's upper level. He took pictures with admirers and talked to his nephews and nieces who introduced him on stage at the "Rock the Ball" event. Bill Daughtridge, the new secretary of administration stood by in a suit.
In brief remarks, McCrory encouraged the crowd to get involved and stay engaged, regardless of political party.
Earlier in the night, the Council of State officials had their moment in the spotlight at a reception at the Progress Energy center in Raleigh. Lobbyists and members of the Junior League, which organized the event, mingled with the statewide elected leaders over an open bar and passed bacon-wrapped scallop hor d'oeuvres. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest and House Speaker Thom Tillis also attended.