Assuming a Move to Invesco Field for Obama's Acceptance Speech

If Sen. Barack Obama moves his acceptance speech from the Pepsi Center to Invesco field, he'll need 76,000 people to fill the seats.

Only 50,000 are expected in town for the convention. Many in Denver will be doing their best to avoid downtown that week. I think they need a concert. Remember the 75,000 crowd in Portland, OR? They had Obama follow a free outdoor concert by the Decembrists which was planned in advance with his campaign.

Question: Who will it be? For reasons explained below, Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, Melissa Etheridge and Stevie Wonder come to mind. Will it be one huge band or a few smaller and diverse groups? [More...]

One consideration: Even if the groups waive a performing fee, it will still be expensive, given the cost of moving and setting up equipment, travel, etc. The Obama campaign would have to foot the bill for that -- as well, I suspect, as some of the extra security costs. I think groups already in town would have an advantage.

The Jazz Aspen-Snowmass Labor Day festival is overlapping with the convention this year, headlined by Bob Dylan. Dylan is pretty unpolitical when it comes to supporting candidates -- politics isn't his thing -- but he has said encouraging things about Obama. Some of the other groups: Widespread Panic, John Fogerty, Ziggy Marley, Yonder Mountain String Band and Dwight Yoakam.

Mellencamp played at the DNC in Boston in 2004. In 2008, he campaigned for Edwards in Iowa. (Here are my videos of his performing Pink Houses and Our Country in Des Moines and of Elizabeth Edwards thanking him.) After Edwards dropped out, he didn't choose between Hillary and Obama before the primary was decided -- his did one show for each of them. The Goo Goo Dolls also played for both candidates.

Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne also supported and played for Edwards. Raitt will be in Denver that week for another think tank event, Symposia of the Rockies. She'd be a good choice.

It's been reported Sheryl Crow will be in Denver performing at a closed delegate party:

I have it on good authority that singer Sheryl Crow has been booked for a Red Rocks show exclusively for DNC delegates on Aug. 24, the Sunday before the convention begins.

Stevie Wonder played in Denver this week. It was his first Colorado performance in 13 years. He's a huge Obama supporter and Obama has said he's one of his favorite artists.

Melissa Etheridge will be playing a Win the Vote Concert at the Fillmore in Denver on Aug. 26.

What about Bruce? He's on tour with a concert in nearby Kansas City on August 24 and then nothing until his final concert in Milwaukee on Aug. 28. Easy fit.

Personally, I'd love to see Bon Jovi or Tom Petty (they sure use his songs enough, between American Girl and Won't Back Down.) They can fill a stadium that size easily on multiple nights. One night should be a breeze.

As to Bon Jovi, he's ending a long European and U.S. tour in a few weeks. While he did campaign events for Kerry in 2004 and Gore in 2000, he's a longtime Hillary supporter, not that it should matter with the unity theme.

Tom Petty is playing in Texas that week. Crosby, Stills and Nash look free, and they were clearly looking forward to an Obama presidency when I saw them in concert last week. Dave Matthews will be on tour in other cities.

Who would you suggest for the musical acts that could pre-fill the stadium and be a great, rousing warm-up for Obama?

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    About the Oregon rally... (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by neoliberal on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 01:44:25 PM EST
    The sense I get when reading about the Decemberists is that they seem like the type of band that'd be lucky to attract 20,000 people. In other words, Obama's rally got 75,000 people to go see a Decemberists concert.

    I don't think Obama will have trouble finding enough people.

    Not what Oregonians here say (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Cream City on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 01:52:47 PM EST
    who say that the main attraction was the first nice day in eons there -- plus several bands, not just the Decembrists, that also brought out the crowd.

    The lesson, then, for Obama is to just be sure it's a sunny day in Denver.  Easier done there than in Oregon, for sure.  Still, interceding the Almighty -- for the monotheists -- might be the first task for the faith-based initiative.  And the first test.


    Great day (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Carolyn in Baltimore on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 09:42:40 PM EST
    My SO and family were there. They are Decemberist fans and Hillary supporters but were curious - and yes - a gorgeous day gets people outdoors.

    Hey Cream, (none / 0) (#47)
    by Newt on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 03:50:43 PM EST
    you remember something I posted here!

    Yup, it was a cold rainy spring and when the sun comes out, so do the Oregonians.


    I love your City of Roses and (none / 0) (#63)
    by Cream City on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:38:30 PM EST
    whatever I read about it here.  And as my mother was from the Pacific Northwest, and I married into a family from the mills here that had to move there, too, I have a lot of relatives there and have visited often . . . and always bring my raincoat and bumbershoot, no matter the time of year. :-)

    Nuh uh (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Montague on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 02:28:00 PM EST
    For free outdoor concerts, people come in droves.  

    Ever heard of Medeski, Martin & Wood?  I sure hadn't, but yesterday there were probably 30,000 people roaming around downtown Iowa City for the free concert.  And that was the HEADLINE group.  And in a town that has a population of less 70,000.


    In Portland (4.00 / 0) (#6)
    by Carolyn in Baltimore on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 01:53:40 PM EST
    a free Decemberists concert will get plenty. Don't sell them short in Portland. They are very popular there.

    However I don't think Obama will have a hard time filling the stadium.


    The way he keeps shooting himself in (3.50 / 2) (#13)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 02:15:15 PM EST
    the foot, let's see if he is the nominee first.

    I keep having visions (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by ccpup on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:33:39 PM EST
    of SDS with a bottle of Pepto-Bismol in one hand and their cell phone with their thumb hovering over Hill's speed dial phone number in the other.

    If I were a SD, not even my newly fattened bank account (courtsey of that ATM known as Obama) would be making me happy right now.


    Portland is right next door to Washington (2.00 / 1) (#64)
    by hairspray on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:39:31 PM EST
    state.  How many Washinton state students filled a car and drove 2 hours for the event?

    of course not, he just has to bus his same gang (none / 0) (#79)
    by suzieg on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 07:24:06 AM EST
    of Chicago people he used for the caucuses....

    Football stadium, big game, big rock stars (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Rhouse on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 01:47:13 PM EST
    let's hope the half-time show doesn't have a political wardrobe malfunction.

    Janet Jackson is out, then? (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by andgarden on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 01:56:26 PM EST
    this comment made me laugh so (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by bjorn on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 03:18:29 PM EST
    hard that it has to be nominated as comment of the year to date!

    Me, too!! (none / 0) (#66)
    by zfran on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 06:05:28 PM EST
    metro Denver has 2.5 million people (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by tben on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 01:53:00 PM EST
    why would they need a concert to attract the few tens of thousands more than the convention goers to see a historic event like that? I'd go in a heartbeat, and I wouldnt need music to attract me.

    As Jeralyn said (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by Cream City on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 02:08:51 PM EST
    "mMany in Denver will be doing their best to avoid downtown that week."  I'd trust a local on that.  And I'm in a convention town, too, and by the end of the big conventions, there can be considerable resentment at a week's worth of upheaval in attempting to lead everyday lives.  Add to that the commenter's notation below that it's the start of a holiday weekend, the first night of college football on tv, etc. -- and for parents, there is no busier time than getting set for the school year.

    Some of the American Idol (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Grace on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 01:56:57 PM EST
    winners since Obama would be our first "American Idol" President.  

    David Archuletta and David Cook would be great since they are from Utah and Missouri respectively so their fans wouldn't have to travel far to get to Denver.  Jordin Sparks is from Arizona so she'd be good too.  

    On top of all that, I think they draw the desired demographics:  Young people.  

    Cheaper but still effective (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Grace on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 02:45:34 PM EST
    Sanjaya probably would cost a lot less and still bring out a decent crowd.  

    He might need more (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by cmugirl on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 01:58:17 PM EST
    The night he gives his acceptance speech is the opening night of college football on TV and is the Thursday before Labor Day, when many people will be heading out of town.

    You can't have Stevie Wonder (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Steve M on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 02:14:47 PM EST
    unless you have a unity ticket!

    I shouldn't suggest this, but. . . . (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by andgarden on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 02:42:20 PM EST
    Tom Petty (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Valhalla on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 02:17:20 PM EST
    would be too ironic.  Don't Back Down?

    Springsteen (5.00 / 0) (#15)
    by Montague on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 02:20:22 PM EST
    didn't used to get involved in politics.  He became a vocal Kerry supporter because he finally had enough with the horror that is GWB.  As it turned out, Bruce backed the eventual loser and I'm wondering if he worries that he is going 0-for-2 this year.

    And with only a day for setup (none / 0) (#19)
    by Cream City on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 02:28:12 PM EST
    after what would be an all-night equipment breakdown in my town, and all the security complications in that in Denver, I don't see it being as easy as does Jeralyn for Springsteen after the concert here on the 28th.  But then, whadda I know -- other than, from many a previous Springsteen concert here and folks I know here involved in those venues, he does like a lot of setup and equipment-testing time.

    And he and the band like time to relax and roam around a town a bit, too.  We love our celeb sightings here -- such as Mick Jagger at the Calatrava art museum, very cool.:-)  But it won't be an optimal time for anyone to enjoy Denver, anyway.


    So much for the Boss (none / 0) (#23)
    by Montague on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 02:36:50 PM EST
    Celeb sightings?  I guess I got my fill of those during the primary.  Isn't Obama a "rock star"?????  Yet he was in my burg several times.

    Why must it be about show biz? (5.00 / 0) (#24)
    by citizen53 on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 02:39:13 PM EST
    It comes off as shallow and overly staged.

    Guess that is what many Americans fall for, but I remain hopeful that for matters such as these, we can seek higher.

    Just considering it at this arena (none / 0) (#67)
    by zfran on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 06:07:00 PM EST
    is being "overly staged!!"

    But that puts it (none / 0) (#88)
    by Montague on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:38:22 PM EST
    squarely in line with what his campaign has been about.  Yeah?

    Would it be closed to the general public? (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by EL seattle on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 02:47:51 PM EST
    Or could well-dressed and apparently well-behaved "boo-birds" and other agents provocateurs get inside to see the concert and the speech, too?

    Is he paying the rent? (5.00 / 0) (#34)
    by Joan in VA on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 03:03:58 PM EST
    Isn't money already tight for what has been planned? And if she gets the nom, will he let Hillary use it? : )

    Convention Money Very Tight (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by catfish on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:29:32 PM EST
    NYT reports today that the Convention is still running way over budget and Obama campaign is remaining tight-fisted.

    I guess the Obama campaign will pay for the stadium? This is just so strange.


    Someone has to pay for two sites (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Cream City on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:36:03 PM EST
    at the same time, since the convention site has been reserved for that night for some time, I would bet.

    as i have read the telecoms are paying (none / 0) (#81)
    by hellothere on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:51:33 AM EST
    quite a bit of the convention bill.

    A familiar refrain (5.00 / 0) (#38)
    by magisterludi on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 03:28:01 PM EST
    from many here in TN.

    Doesn't he run the risk (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by americanincanada on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 03:41:47 PM EST
    of people leaving once said band is finished and not sticking around for the beautiful speech?!

    I hate to say it... (5.00 / 4) (#52)
    by Lou Grinzo on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:01:37 PM EST
    ...but this has now reached the level of really bad science fiction.  You know--in the indeterminate future one of the major parties is holding their convention, and the cynical author is trying to make a ham fisted point about how the media has become the message in ways the reader didn't see coming, etc., so they hold the thing in a freaking football stadium, with fireworks, cheerleaders, a military flyover, and the candidate, dressed in a white jump suit decorated with flags, crosses, and military insignia from various units currently in action, parachuting in to land on his very own giant blue logo on the 50 yard line.

    (No, this isn't a prediction; I'm intentionally exaggerating to make a point.)

    Even without all the absurd stuff I just made up, they're approaching a dangerous line, and it will be exceedingly easy for them to go One Step Too Far and open up Obama to ridicule.  I hope they figure out where that line is and take one large step back.

    One Step Too Far (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by catfish on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:34:04 PM EST
    can you define when or what that will be? I keep thinking we've reached it.

    One step beyond (none / 0) (#73)
    by cannondaddy on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 09:31:27 PM EST
    Madness! I love those guys, maybe they could open...

    personally i think we went past the (none / 0) (#80)
    by hellothere on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 11:49:15 AM EST
    line in the primaries. the dnc past the line so long ago they'd need a road map to get back on the straight and narrow.

    about 48 years too late (none / 0) (#71)
    by tben on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 07:57:03 PM EST
    with this complaint.

    JFK moved over to an outdoor stadium for his acceptance speech.
    Nice try though...


    It must be nice (none / 0) (#75)
    by Steve M on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 09:42:41 PM EST
    to just make up a complaint for someone and then refute it.  I can smell the self-satisfaction from way over here.

    Like Dubya (none / 0) (#72)
    by MichaelGale on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 08:14:52 PM EST
    jet landing on deck and emerging dressed in costume and a banner behind him?

    Seeing where (4.20 / 5) (#20)
    by Carolyn in Baltimore on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 02:32:55 PM EST
    Obama has been coming from, the best acts would be the Beach Boys, Wayne Newton, Sinatra if alive. Maybe Anita Bryant.......

    Uhh (3.00 / 0) (#46)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 03:48:56 PM EST
    Jeralyn is the one suggesting he have a concert.  

    But good job criticizing him for something he didn't do.

    I deleted that comment (none / 0) (#56)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:12:12 PM EST
    you are replying to

    But Obama Is (none / 0) (#10)
    by talex on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 02:05:36 PM EST
    a rock star. He should need no second act to fill a stadium.

    Heh (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by Montague on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 02:23:35 PM EST
    Gotta be honest.  If Bruce Springsteen held a free concert prior to a speech, the stadium would be filling up largely for the opening act, NOT the supposed main event.

    I hadn't realized there was a free Decemberists concert in Portland.  That explains a lot. 75K people would never have come just for a politicial speech, no matter who it was.  

    Well, maybe if Ben Franklin came back from beyond to give a speech.  Hell, I'd drop everything and drive across the country to see that.


    A few problems with that idea (none / 0) (#87)
    by Montague on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 03:37:24 PM EST
    Old fogies.  (I love old fogies but the Obama campaign doesn't.)

    They're British.  Unless they became naturalized at some point?  I'm sure an all-American band to go with Obama's American flag pin would be a smarter idea.

    Kashmir - That's in India (arguably) and near the Punjab.  Remember D-Punjab?  Is that wise?  Also I'm pretty sure those aren't the lyrics to Kashmir.


    I would warm 'em up with James McMurtry (none / 0) (#21)
    by Rojas on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 02:33:06 PM EST
    If they can take the heat.

    Goosebumps (none / 0) (#26)
    by Politalkix on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 02:44:04 PM EST
    Invesco Field (or still Mile High Stadium to some) is known for two things-the deafening sound of cheering Bronco fans and its altitude. Look out for Barak Obama, quarter backing the Democrat team with its high octane offense (HRC and John Edwards as marquee wide receivers, Sibelius/Clark as running back, Dodd/Biden/Kaine as tight ends, you get the picture) and launching the soaring drive to propel him and the rest of the Democrats to victory amidst the deafening sound of 76000 wildly partisan supporters. Almost like John Elway carrying the Broncos to victory....:-)

    It wouldn't matter... (none / 0) (#29)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 02:49:36 PM EST
    ...if they brought John and George back to life for a Beatles reunion, some people around here would still find a reason to nit-pick.

    If you want to get the locals out, why not a local line-up?  The Flo-Bots, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, DeVotchKa, or the Fray could headline with any number of great local bands (Cat-a-Tac, the Hot IQ's, Single File, Slim Cessna...) also playing.  

    Is it nitpicking... (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by citizen53 on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 03:16:19 PM EST
    to raise objection to the turning of politics into show business?

    Why must it be a show anyway?  A presidential nominee making an historic acceptance speech should not need to be surrounded by a bunch of rock star celebrities.

    It's typical crass American marketing to manipulate people and drown out the substance and import of what is really taking place.

    It's just another example of the dysfunctional political system in my opinion.


    What is the problem (none / 0) (#41)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 03:31:42 PM EST
    with having musicians sing at a Convention?  They've been doing that for many many many years.  

    If having a band play before his speech ensures that he will have 75,000 people watching his speech, I am all for it.


    Because it is not show business... (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by citizen53 on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 03:39:48 PM EST
    but the process of choosing the leader of the free world.

    Maybe someone can get a few bands for the State of the Union, too.

    The trend of making politics and governing enetrtainment is a bad one in my view.  It makes the issues matter less as the superficial is emphasized.

    It is all an illusion, dumbs things down, and leaves people more subject to manipulation.

    That is why I object.  Should Oprah give the seconding speech?


    The process of selecting (2.00 / 0) (#45)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 03:46:52 PM EST
    the nominee has already occurred.  The convention is a formality at this point.

    The convention is about pomp and ceremony.  


    I disagree... (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by citizen53 on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 03:53:37 PM EST
    as the nomination occurs at the convention.  It is not just about pomp and circumstance.  Your statement shows just how much the illusion has overcome the reality.

    Are you saying that the convention is unnecessary, and merely a concert venue?


    No (none / 0) (#49)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 03:58:10 PM EST
    I'm saying that the convention's primary purpose these days is to excite party members.

    Yes the nominee is formally selected at the convention.  Yes the party finalizes the platform.  

    But you don't need a convention to select a nominee.  


    Well (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by cmugirl on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:11:16 PM EST
    you DO need a formal vote of the delegates, which happens takes place at the convention.

    and as Obama (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by ccpup on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:38:21 PM EST
    and Hillary are still in what amounts to a tie, I wouldn't be so sure that this Convention will be just a "formality".

    If our current "Nominee" continues to careen into the wall with his inartful statements and obvious-as-day flip-flops like a drunken bumper car driver, the SDs may decide enough is enough and nominate the person who can actually win in November.

    Not likely to happen, of course.  But at least we can look forward to a fantastic Democrat President in 2012 after four (more than likely) innocuous years of President McCain.


    I also thought that the party platform (5.00 / 2) (#65)
    by hairspray on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 05:43:45 PM EST
    was hammered out and voted on at the convention. Does that lend itself to rock music?

    I mentioned (none / 0) (#69)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 06:24:02 PM EST
    that the platform is defined at the convention.

    I'm sure you guys were outraged when Kerry did the same thing in 2004.


    Kerry gave his acceptance speech (none / 0) (#76)
    by sallywally on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 10:28:29 PM EST
    in a football stadium?

    frankly the 2004 dem convention was (none / 0) (#83)
    by hellothere on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:09:12 PM EST
    boring. i prefer the older convention where real decisons are made. and if you think the dem convention was a success, go read their viewer numbers.

    the reason? just because it has been (none / 0) (#82)
    by hellothere on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 12:02:12 PM EST
    done for years and coarsened the process doesn't make it right. there is too much of "entertain" the masses by throwing bread and some lions to devour the prisoners to suit my taste. this is supposed to be a process of choosing the candidate and not parties and rock bands. let them do that on their time. yeah, i know it's supposed to send a message to the people. and the message is?

    DC Is Nicknamed (none / 0) (#68)
    by squeaky on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 06:09:56 PM EST
    Hollywood of the East.  If you do not see the similarity, and overlap you are simply not looking.

    I would think (none / 0) (#35)
    by flyerhawk on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 03:09:54 PM EST
    that R.E.M. would be pretty cool.  Springsteen would be good as well.

    REM (none / 0) (#54)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:11:22 PM EST
    is playing in Europe.

    Dang, now my cell phone bill will go up (none / 0) (#39)
    by MyLeftMind on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 03:30:05 PM EST
    so the Telecoms can fund a concert to payback FISA...


    How about a Latina (none / 0) (#53)
    by BackFromOhio on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 04:04:53 PM EST
    Christina Aguilera working for Rock the Vote -- just had baby to whom she attributes her great interest in this year's elections. On Larry King Live last week.

    An Abba revival. (none / 0) (#70)
    by Cream City on Sat Jul 05, 2008 at 06:50:01 PM EST
    McCain is on to something with that reach-out.:-)  And nothing is crazier than a middle-aged female crowd in an Abba frenzy.  Check out any audience for Mama Mia! on the road.

    And Abba will be hot again after the premiere of the movie in just two weeks.  My daughter, allegedly in the Obama supporter age group (but she was a Clinton voter) already called to make a date with mom to do the movie on its opening day.  

    Bjorn Again -- the Abba revival band (none / 0) (#77)
    by Cream City on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 01:10:19 AM EST
    I finally found the name of the Abba revival band -- and wouldn't Bjorn Again be apt for an Obama rally, getting out the fatih-based evangelical vote?

    They will bus people in from all over (none / 0) (#78)
    by ruffian on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 06:35:08 AM EST
    I don't think they will need a rock band, but if they do Springsteen would be the best, and I bet he would do it.

    That's where my money would be anyway.