Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live Event/Special

CNN's "The Fourth in America". Aired 7-8p ET

Aired July 04, 2023 - 19:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: Across America, the skies are about to light up in a Star Spangled celebration of the USA, and 247 years of independence.

Tonight, the largest fireworks show on television, with dazzling displays in cities from coast-to-coast, and amazing music to get the party going, including these talented performers: Post Malone, Demi Lovato, Ludacris, Brad Paisley, Flo Rida, Shania Twain, Darius Rucker, Sheryl Crow, Zac Brown Band, Leon Bridges, The All-American Rejects. Coi Leray, Smash Mouth, Alanis Morissette, Clean White T's, Duran Duran, and the United States Air Force Band.

Now, a CNN special event THE FOURTH IN AMERICA.

DANA BASH, CNN HOST: What a way to kick things off. The United States Air Force Band performing the stirring first of blue march right here live on CNN.

Welcome to Washington, D.C., on this glorious independence day. Crowds are gathering on the National Mall and all across the nation's capital. We'll see the Lincoln Memorial and other monuments light up very soon in one of the biggest fireworks shows in the country.

Happy Fourth of July. I'm Dana Bash, along with Boris Sanchez.

Boris, I'm absolutely thrilled to be with you and also our viewers on this wonderful holiday celebration.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Dana, it is an absolute pleasure to be with you in the nation's capital, even though it is sweltering. We're about to see an extraordinary firework show in Washington, with the U.S. Capitol, and the Air Force Band right behind us.

Of course, in New York City, with the Statue of Liberty stands as a beacon of freedom, the skyline there soon is going to be bathed in red, white and blue. Fireworks are going to spin across the East River and New York, reaching out for a mile, as high as 1,000 feet in the air. So, get ready for that.

And more than a dozen other fireworks shows across the nation, including from Niagara Falls, a first for CNN's FOURTH IN AMERICA. A spectacular backdrop, Dana, I cannot wait. BASH: There is so much to look forward to, Boris, including the

celebration in Nashville. Check it out. Folks there will be treated to a performance by country music star, Brad Paisley. He is one of many a list musical talents, we will be enjoying today.

And there's a big party going on in Fort Lauderdale, right on the beach. Rapper and singer, Flo Rida, will be there, turning up the heat.

There will be so much great music, so many fireworks, Boris. Let's get this party started.

SANCHEZ: Let's do it! It feels like a beach ultimate here in D.C.

Let's go to New York, though, where organizers say tonight's fireworks are going to be jaw-dropping, and show-stopping.

CNN's Danny Freeman has one of the most spectacular views in the city, from the edge. A 100-story high observation deck.

Danny, a beautiful view behind. When you're expecting tonight?

DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boris, an absolutely tremendous view. I've got to be honest, I watch the Macy's Fourth of July fireworks shows it every year since I've a kid. It's always been on the, couch or on TV. So, I'm so excited to be, as you said, 100 stories up, with what's got to be the best view of New York City that I've ever seen.

Now, we are right now at edge on Hudson Yards. It is the highest sky desk in the western hemisphere. It's just high enough to help me get over my mild fear of heights, the view is just that good.

Now, at 9:30 tonight, that's when the entire skyline behind me is going to be lit up with fireworks. You can see the East River behind, me it will be right behind the Empire State Building, behind me as well. We've got a bunch of new things to see in the show, brand-new effects, a mile wide waving flags, covered in red, white and blue, a sunflower ring, and get this, 60,000 fireworks shells.

And, Boris, these fireworks are going to be 1000 feet up in the air. Well, we right here on the edge, we're 1,000 feet up in the air. So, this is the best spot to watch these fireworks. Glad to share with you guys tonight.

Back to you.

BASH: We can't wait. The fireworks here in the nation's capital also promised to be spectacular.

CNN's Gabe Cohen has a prime viewing spot right on the National Mall.

Gabe, how's the turnout?

GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dana, people are pouring onto the National Mall behind me. And we expect this place to be packed when those fireworks start just after 9:00 p.m.


And we've been out talking to families who are arriving here, they're so excited. Look, there are the folks who live in this area, for whom this is a tradition. To try to come out to the national mall every year to see this show. It's that special. There are also so many people, and so many families, who intentionally traveled from across the country to celebrate independence day, here in the nation's capital.

I spoke with a grandmother from North Carolina, who came here, brought her little grandson here tonight. She said that she grew up here in Washington. She has seen the show before, and she wanted him, not just to experience the history, of the district, but also to see this show because she said, in so many ways, it embodies the America that she knows. And that she loves.

It's an event that means so much to so many people. Dana, Boris?

SANCHEZ: Yeah, an event that really carried across the generations. Gabe Cohen, thank you so much for that.

Hey, it is time for our first performance of the night from a brand new inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Here singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow on stage at the Bottle Rock Festival in Napa, California.



BASH: Absolutely incredible, Sheryl Crow.

Listen, you know that is why that woman was inducted into the Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I don't know it took so long, only this year.

SANCHEZ: A nine-time Grammy Award winner who wrote her first song when this was 13. She has no vote. She looks great and she sends great. Love it.

BASH: I love the classics. The first two songs, "Soak Up the Sun" and "The First Cut is the Deepest", but the song she played there, there it goes the neighborhood, it is her new one. I was listening to it ahead of time, it's really good.

SANCHEZ: It's a great song.

BASH: Just listen to the recording but listening to that live and watch and the way she --

SANCHEZ: For disclosure, I wish you folks had I live picture of Dana Bash singing "The First Cut is the Deepest". As she was playing that song, she's fantastic.

BASH: Yeah, I was lips syncing. Nobody wanted to hear that.

SANCHEZ: I want to hear you sing, come on, in the commercial break, right?

BASH: Maybe.

All right, everybody. Still ahead, the first fireworks of the night right here in Washington, D.C.


We're going to bring you one great light show after another.

And next, a performance by the Plain White T's. This is THE FOURTH IN AMERICA on CNN.


SANCHEZ: We're looking at an incredible crowd right now, live outside the White House as we await the launch of the fireworks here in the nation's capital. We are going to light up the National Mall tonight.

This is THE FOURTH AND AMERICA on CNN, an epic night of fireworks across the country and some red hot musical performances.

BASH: Right now, the Plain White T's are performing from Phase Fest in Kansas City, presented by Social House Entertainment.



SANCHEZ: Wow. Our thanks to the Plain White T's for that terrific performance.

They were asking what is it like in New York City? Take a look at this. A beautiful view of New York. We are still awaiting the skies of New York to burst with color.

We are nearing the set of fireworks shows across the nation, including in Nashville, Tennessee. Country music great Brad Paisley is said to be performing there later tonight. He is also stopping by to talk to CNN. You don't want to miss that and so much more coming next.



BASH: We are back with you live from Washington, D.C.

Look at the crowds forming on the National Mall to see one of the biggest Fourth of July fireworks shows in the nation. You're going to see it right here on CNN.

SANCHEZ: We are getting ready to let up the nation's capital in red, white, and blue. There is a big party going on in Nashville, too. The Music City is getting ready for fireworks and a performance by country superstar Brad Paisley.

Let's take you to Nashville, now with CNN's Nick Valencia who has a special guest for us -- Nick.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dana and Boris, I'm here with one of country music's biggest stars, Brad Paisley. You're going to be performing later tonight. Your new hit single "So Many Summers".

Tell us what it means like to be here in Nashville, you are performing for the second time?

BRAD PAISLEY, COUNTRY SINGER: Yeah, this is the biggest party in the U.S. on one of the biggest party days. This town is home and that know how to do this. The strictly around, Broadway, is the destination most nights of the year. Now to be able to stand at the bottom of the street, celebrating our nation, it's really fun.

VALENCIA: You've got recently on a trip to Ukraine with the bipartisan Senate delegation. You wrote a ballad that was inspired by Ukraine called "Same Here", about how we all desire pretty much the same thing. One of them being the desire for freedom.

Tell me how that message is resonating with you here at Nashville tonight?

PAISLEY: Well, it occurs to me, they want this. They want this day where they celebrate their independence and their freedom. And even though they were free prior to this war, there is going to be quite the celebration when they have a day where it is like, that's it, you know?

I think, yeah, it makes me not take this for granted by any means having seen the people that want so badly to be us. And, you know, the school kids, getting on and off school buses in a middle of war zone now, where they were used to normal life a year ago. So, yeah, this means more to me having that day.

VALENCIA: Part of tonight, you do so much advocacy work for those who are disenfranchised, less fortunate. You have a nonprofit that you cofounded with your wife called The Store. Tonight, part of the benefit is going to the store. Tell us about that as quickly as you can.

PAISLEY: We wanted to make a place based upon a place we saw in Santa Barbara that is a grocery store. There is dignity and choice. And so, these folks, they come in that have fallen on hard times, all of us could fall on hard times. We don't -- we are all one mistake away from, you know, a situation where we need those things.

But they go in there and have choice. They pick the vegetables they want, the food they want for their family, all of the things that really, you know, I think that like normal, and get back on their feet. So, it's a grocery store that is basically free to people who qualify. And I'm trying to give them dignity with that.

VALENCIA: Yeah. Well, you are doing a great job. On a personal note, I hear you are a Los Angeles Dodgers fan.


VALENCIA: You know, I hope that they have a chance at the World Series this year. It's cool to meet you in person. We are really, really excellent for your performance tonight. We can't wait to see what you have to do.

Dana and Boris, we'll be hearing from Brad Paisley later tonight from here in Nashville.

BASH: Nick, thank you very much. We are very excited to hear from Brad Paisley --

VALENCIA: Of course.

BASH: -- later tonight.

We just heard him talk about his recent visit with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.


And as Americans are celebrating their independence, Zelenskyy is sending a message of gratitude to the United States.

He spoke exclusively with CNN's Erin Burnett in Ukraine.


ERIN BURENTT, CNN HOST: We are talking over the July 4th weekend for America.


BURNETT: A time to think about democracy and freedom, which have come under threat in America as well. But at this time, what do you say to Americans who are skeptical about more aid to Ukraine, about what those words democracy, freedom, and self determination mean to you?

ZELENSKYY: First of all, my congratulations to all Americans, and thank you very much for supporting us and our people, our people. What I'm going to say -- that is a great day for your country and a day of independence as a great day for all the countries. Each country has such a great day.

You have the Fourth of July. When we speak about democracy and freedom, what can I say, that Americans know what does it mean. Ukrainians feel what does it mean.


BASH: You can see all of Erin Burnett's exclusive interview with President Zelenskyy tomorrow night at 7:00 Eastern, only on CNN.

SANCHEZ: Such a powerful message for everyone in the United States from the Ukrainian president.

Hey, there is still more to not as we close in on the first fireworks of the evening right here in the nation's capital and, if you're looking for some soul, singer/songwriter Leon Bridges, he's going to do it when the celebration continues.

THE FOURTH IN AMERICA returns in a moment.



BASH: What a few of New York on this beautiful 4th of July. This city is promising a sky full of stars when the fireworks explode across the east river.

I mean, look at those pictures. They are absolutely spectacular.

SANCHEZ: Gorgeous.

BASH: And the scene on the beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, well, that is also pretty remarkable. It is also going to be exploding with music soon. Flo Rida is going to perform right there and you're going to see it live here on CNN -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: That looks like such a great party. Imagine being in the waves watching Flo Rida break it down. Can't wait for that, but right now --

BASH: You're a Florida guy.

SANCHEZ: Bigger time, bigger time. I should be wearing my sandals right now. But, Dana, they can't say, can they?

BASH: I don't think so.

SANCHEZ: Let's get you to California with some music from Grammy Award winning recording artist and songwriter Leon Bridges at the BattleRock Festival in Napa.



BASH: Leon Bridges helping us kick off the holiday, as he prepares to release a new song with Miranda Lambert, entitled "If You Are Mine".

Right now, we are counting down to the very first fireworks of the night, here in Washington, D.C. That's going to be a little over hours from now.

But don't go anywhere, because coming up, the rapper Wale is about to appear live, followed by performances from Alanis Morissette and Flo Rida.

[19:55:06] Don't go anywhere.


BASH: What a terrific view of the Statue of Liberty on this Fourth of July. We're getting closer to sunset in New York City, and the start of one of the most sensational fireworks displays in the country. You're going to see it, live, right here on CNN, along with fireworks here in Washington, D.C., and all across the United States.

It is THE FOURTH IN AMERICA, and the nation's birthday party is underway. If you're just joining us, happy Independence Day. I'm Dana Bash, with Boris Sanchez.

Boris, what a celebration that we're part of tonight?

SANCHEZ: This is so much fun, Dana. And this is the place to be for anyone who enjoys great music and fabulous fireworks. And honestly, who doesn't?