Thursday, August 28, 2008


See all 150 photos we took at Flickr!

It was an amazing evening to be there. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have not only lived to see it... but to get tickets to be there in person.

They were urging people to get there as early as 1PM, but I knew that would create a rush to beat the rush, so we looked at the schedule and decided to try to get there at about 5PM. We ended up leaving later than expected, but there was plenty of parking at the light rail, and the trains were almost empty. We were forced to get out a stop early, apparently there had been a huge backlog of people earlier in the day, so they were making people get off further to alleviate congestion, and it worked. We walked straight into the stadium in about 15 minutes.

I was surprised by a lot of things. I expected a lot of nutty protesters, and although there were a few (I was not surprised to find out that I'm going to hell), there are more at Laurel & Ventura on a Friday night.

Security was weird. We had been told that all tickets had been registered with names and that they would be scanning and checking IDs at the gate, but they did neither. No one scanned our ticket, no one asked for ID. I could have sold (or bought) my tickets on Ebay.

Security was weird. The metal detectors were pretty much it. They did look carefully at my keychain; I think they thought the mini flashlight was a crackpipe and would not let me through until I lit it up. (The flashlight, not the crack.)

We got there at about 6. I was excited to see a number of the speakers. We got there just as Sheryl Crow started her set. I'm not a huge fan, but she was pretty good until she sang a song that wasn't hers and her vocal weakness cut through.

Mark Udall was good. Tim Kaine was better, and Bill Richardson was great. I think he would have been a good VP choice. We were seated on the top level, behind the stage, and although we still had a good view, it was hard to hear, particularly when a speaker got a good crowd response. It looked like they did very little sound reinforcement, so it was probably loud on the field and soft and muddy up top. It's too bad, they could have easily told people to bring AM radios and played it on a local station with no delay, as well as add captions to the large video boards (everyone was speaking from a TelePromTer, even the singers' lyrics).

The crowd got increasingly louder throughout the night, until Obama was imminent, and then they became so quiet you could hear a pin drop. The crowd was a little sparse when we got there, but by 8 there were hardly any empty seats.

Stevie Wonder was good as always (we've seen him at the Grammys), he's the consummate pro as a musician.

I've also heard Al Gore speak in person before. I said it in a previous blog post, but his media image is completely different from what he's really like. He's an extremely engaging speaker, intelligent, funny, and animated. I don't know how or why the media has made him look so bad. He was very, very good tonight, going on the offensive on a lot of important topics. His speech had more substance than any of the other speakers I saw, other than Obama.

Michael McDonald thankfully was limited to one song. Alas, he stole Ray Charles' signature song and butchered it.

Susan Eisenhower also had good text, but was not a dramatic speaker.

It was VERY smart to get the retired military on stage with him. So much for lack of experience. These guys could have waged a war without leaving the stage.

The 6 Average Americans were also great. It seemed a little heavy on the women - Obama's already got the woman vote - it seemed that it would have been smarter to get more middle aged white guys on stage; they are his weakest following.

However, it was great to see the mix of people in the crowd. Young, old, male, female, white, black, Latino, you name it. There was a sense of camaraderie not only in the crowd but even on the train home. People were really excited that change might finally happen.

Dick Durbin was good too.

But the night belonged to one man. He has a huge presence. I think the applause for him could have gone on for an hour. The video tribute before his entrance was very moving. The crowd of about 85,000 people was silent, and many moved to tears.

It was an historic night that I will never forget.
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