WASHINGTON (AFP) - A galaxy of stars including Bruce Springsteen, U2 and Stevie Wonder will usher Barack Obama into the White House at an massive inaugural event Sunday in Washington. Half a million people are expected to brave bitter cold to gather in front of the Lincoln Memorial to celebrate incoming first African-American president. By midday, tens of thousands of revelers bundled in winter coats and gloves had filed through intense security cordons for the event whose line-up reads like a LiveAid concert. Music legends Wonder and Springsteen will join soul divas Beyonce and Mary J. Blige and a host of other stars " Jon Bon Jovi, John Legend, Shakira and James Taylor, among many others. Actors Jamie Foxx, Denzel Washington, Jack Black and Tom Hanks will be among those reading historical passages. But it is the address by Obama before the grand statue of Abraham Lincoln that is destined to rouse the raw emotion for many who see remarkable change in this transition of power. The prospect of the incoming 44th president invoking the memory of assassinated civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr " whose "I Have A Dream" address on the same marble steps became one of the most famous speeches in US history " has struck many of the attendees as a moment to cherish. "It is overwhelming to see this happen," said Linda Marshall, a school teacher from Obama's hometown Chicago who marched with King and other civil rights leaders as a teenager in the early 1960s, as she waited in line at a security checkpoint. "Martin Luther King spoke here. And to have Barack come and stand in those same shoes, from Lincoln, to MLK, to Barack Obama ..." Her voice trailed off. "This is history. I couldn't have imagined hoping for a day like this." Scores of attendees were huddling under blankets or jumping around to fend off temperatures hovering around the freezing mark " in a sign of the bitter cold, the 2,029 foot (618 meter) Reflecting Pool in front of the memorial was covered by a sheet of ice. Audience members were set to brave the elements for hours, as events were due to kick off at 2:30pm (1930 GMT). Before the concert the Obamas Sunday whisked about the capital in an armored Cadillac with a blue license plate reading "44," amid heavy security tightening ahead of Tuesday's historic ceremony. Helicopters circled protectively overhead, while heavily armed Secret Service agents and police officers with sniffer dogs patrolled the area. Near the National Mall where the inauguration ceremony will takes place, most roads are cordoned off and security barriers hinder any walking traffic. Obama's motorcade was tailed everywhere by blacked-out Service Service vans and dozens of police riding in cars and on motorcycles. Early Sunday he joined vice president-elect Joe Biden to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, a war grave that symbolizes the resting site of unidentified American servicemen. After the visit the incoming first family visited the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, Washington's oldest African American church, founded in 1839. "The Obamas are honored to worship (at the church)" this Sunday, said Obama's Director of Religious Affairs Joshua DuBois, adding that the family, which does not belong yet to a church in Washington, are set to choose a church home soon. Back at the concert, which will be broadcast live on an open signal by HBO television and National Public Radio, the wait and cold did not hinder many thousands of revelers, including a group who drove up for the inauguration from Florida. They said would have camped outside overnight if they had been allowed. "I didn't march with Dr King, but to see his dream come to life is overwhelming," said Donella Reddick, 51, of Ft Lauderdale, Florida, whose family and friends were pressed up against one of the metal barriers. "My only disappointment is that Martin Luther King wasn't here to see this," she said. Audrey Warren, of Hollywood, Florida said it will be hard to keep her composure should Obama make reference to King's historic speech on the steps of the memorial. "Remember how Martin Luther King said how he had been to the mountaintop? Well this is the top," Warren said.