Barack Obama--after appearing with John McCain at the Alfred Smith dinner--hit the Hammerstein Ballroom on 34th Street in Manhattan for a mega-bucks fund-raiser concert with Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel who were joined by John Legend and India Arie. John Sykes, Harvey Weinstein and Anna Wintour were the producers.
Michelle and "Born to Run" Barack listened from back stage and when the band played "Signed Sealed Delivered," at the end, the Obama's did a little dance and hip bumping.
Obama has been urging his backers not to get cocky as his poll lead grows. "Don't underestimate the capacity of Democrats to snatch defeat from
the jaws of victory," Obama said. "Don't underestimate our ability
to screw it up."
Pool Report - No. 4
Oct. 16, 2008
New York City
NO NEWS, BUT SEE END QUOTE: "Don't underestimate our ability to screw it up."
Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel were well into their act - playing
the same time, the same stage - when your pool arrived at the
Hammerstein Ballroom around 10:30 p.m. By this hour, the scheduled had
called for Senator Barack Obama to already be making his remarks, but
tonight things were operating on Bruce time.
And not a soul seemed to mind - why would they? - as Billy Joel
weighed in with a long reprise of "New York State of Mind."
After hearing it at countless rallies, "The Rising," was played live
for Obama fans who filled all tiers of the giant ballroom on West 34th
Street in Manhattan. For a moment, Springsteen jumped onto the grand
piano as Billy Joel played "Allentown." And later, Billy grabbed a
guitar and joined Bruce for "Glory Days."
John Legend and India Arie joined the two on stage in an upbeat
rendition of "People Get Ready," the old Negro spiritual from the era
of the Underground railroad.
The fund-raising concert benefited the Obama Victory Fund. No total
estimate was provided, but tickets ranged from a balcony seat ($500,
which sold out quickly) to a lounge ticket for $25,000. The ballroom's
event manager said 1,959 people were on hand.
Except for that monetary detail, it would have been easy to forget
that this was an Obama event at all. Until, of course, The Boss took
his microphone and, surrounded by the other singers said, "Ladies and
Gentlemen, you want to bring on the next president of the United
States, Barack Obama!"
The senator took the stage at 11:25 p.m.
"What a magical evening," Mr. Obama said, "which I will not spoil
with a long speech."
Mr. Obama said that he and his wife had been listening to the music backstage.
"I called her over and said honey, the reason I'm running for
president is I can't be Bruce Springsteen. I can't be Billy Joel. I
can't sing like John Legend and India Arie," he said. "All I have is
words. In some ways words are always inadequate. You guys have just
heard four of the finest musicians in the world."
He added, "Sorry, Bruce and Billy, but I grew up with you all."
In addition to the performers, Mr. Obama also thanked the concert's
producers who also are prominent supporters: John Sykes, Harvey
Weinstein and Anna Wintour.
Mr. Obama had shed his white tie and he wore an open-collared shirt
and a dark suit as he stood at center stage alone. A few people
trickled out, but most stayed and fell into a hush as he told several
stories of people who he has met throughout his 20-month campaign.
"The point is, all across this country," Mr. Obama said, "the people
that Billy and Bruce sing about, every day they get up and they are
He spoke for 25 minutes. It was a streamlined version of his stump
speech, particularly highlighting the challenges of the economy.
"This is the moment when we are being tested. This is the time when
we are going to have to look back 10 years from now, 20 years from now
and say, did we lose our nerve? Did we lose our sense of purpose? Or
did we rise up and come together?"
Mr. Obama urged his supporters to buckle down and do more than send money.
"Don't underestimate the capacity of Democrats to snatch defeat from
the jaws of victory," Mr. Obama said. "Don't underestimate our ability
to screw it up."
He added, "I want everybody running scared. Over the next 18 days,
other than your family and your job, I want you to make a decision
that there is nothing more important than bringing about this change
that we need."
He closed with a classic tune of his own: "Fired up, Ready to Go!"
Yes, that's right, cue the B-Roll for Edith Childs, Greenwood, S.C.
The band returned for an encore, "Signed Sealed Delivered," which
drew Michelle Obama out onto the stage to join her husband in a little
dance, a little hip bumping and a lot of clapping to the beat.
New York Times