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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-08-07 09:57 AM
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Obama’s Musical Draw

Obama’s Musical Draw

By Catrin Einhorn

The old Riviera theater in Chicago, usually a venue for bands that are too big for the small venues and too small for the big ones, hosted an improbable headliner Friday night. “BARACK OBAMA,” read the marquee, “CHANGE ROCKS.”

It was latest Generation Obama event, designed to draw what the campaign calls “young professionals.” Tickets ran $35-$500, and a host of musicians were on the bill, from a local band called Canasta to members of Third Eye Blind and Wilco. A campaign spokeswoman said
they sold about 2,000 tickets.

When Mr. Obama suddenly strode into the lobby, shortly before he was scheduled to speak, women screamed. A man yelled, “Barack, I love you!” But the loudest among them was also perhaps the oldest, a 50-year old psychotherapist and mother of four from the suburbs. “Oh
my God!” shrieked Abby Ehrhardt. A few minutes later, a security guard asked her if she’d seen Mr. Obama come in. “I got to shake his hand!” she wailed, throwing her arms around the guard.

The crowd cheered and then quieted as Wilco started to play –frontman Jeff Tweedy was the only one promised, but two-thirds of the band showed up. And then came Barack Obama, to even louder applause.

During his speech, Mr. Obama at one point laughingly took a dig at Senator
Hillary Clinton and her campaign for scrutinizing his kindergarten papers, in which he touted his early presidential ambitions. “It’s silly season in politics,” he told the crowd.

While the crowd had more than its share of enthusiastic Obama supporters, some were there more for the music. Will Frizzell, 18, a freshman at Northwestern University, did not
purchase his $50 ticket because of Mr. Obama. “I came to see Jeff Tweedy. I mean, he’s kind of been my idol since like ninth grade,” he said. Even so, the candidate impressed him. “I thought his speech was pretty empowering.” He said Mr. Obama had his vote.
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