No 'Love Shack' at White House - B-52s won't play Aussie dinner

By Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - At the White House, the dinner is on but the band is out.

The B-52s' planned performance at U.S. President Joe Biden's state dinner for Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Wednesday was scrapped as the event takes on a more somber tone due to the Middle East crisis.

Biden welcomed Albanese to the White House on Tuesday evening and will host a lavish dinner party after the two allied leaders discuss rare earths and cyber security Wednesday.

The festivities will be accompanied by instrumental tunes from a U.S. military band instead of the upbeat dance music from the group from the U.S. state of Georgia, known for its hits "Love Shack" and "Rock Lobster."

First lady Jill Biden said Tuesday the B-52s will attend the dinner as guests instead.

"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."

The dinner comes less than three weeks after the Islamist militant group Hamas launched a deadly cross-border attack on Israel on Oct. 7. The war since has left Gaza on the brink of a humanitarian crisis and created a diplomatic crisis for Biden.

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Heather Timmons and Rod Nickel)