"Change Rocks" - Barack Obama fundraiser at The Riviera: December 2007 Archives

Gray leaves the stage after performing three songs, concluding Obama's concert fundraiser at The Riviera.

Click here to read Sun-Times Political Reporter Abdon M. Pallasch's story on tonight's event, and check back later for photos and video from tonight's concert.

Hands in the air

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Barack's people saved the best for last: The crowd is in love with Gray's "I Try." There's singing, dancing and energy in the air.

"Are you ready?" Gray asks the audience before singing her hit "I Try"

"Has anyone ever met Santa Claus?" she askes the crowd. "Not the one in the mall, but the real one?"

Gray follows up with the popular holiday hit "Walking in a Winter Wonderland."

Gray has released four studio albums, one compilation album, and one live album—with her fourth studio album, released this year.

Gray, donning a full-length black shimmering dress, opens with the hit "I get by with a little help from my friends."


"Everytime I play here, you guys are off the hook," she says. "You know how to scream. And you drink so much, you don't even notice when I make mistakes."

She's a survivor

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Before leaving the stage, Sobule sings her version of Destiny's Child's hit "I'm a Survivor" with a rock-y approach, leaving the pop sounds to the now defunct trio.

Born in Colorado, Sobule is known for her '95 song "I Kissed A Girl" and for "Supermodel" from the soundtrack of the movie "Clueless."

Third Eye Blind was formed in the early '90s in San Francisco and is headlined by its current line-up of Stephan Jenkins, Brad Hargreaves, Tony Fredianelli and Leo Kremer.

The band is popular for hits 'Semi-Charmed Life" and "How's It Gonna Be."

Stephan Jenkins just took the stage with another member of his band Third Eye Blind, leading off their set with their hit song "Semi-Charmed Life."

Obama leaves stage

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Energy has found its way into the crowd, as people swarm the venue after giving Obama an ovation as he leaves the stage.

"It is time for us to stop settling," he says. "Let's get to work. Love you guys, goodbye."

Obama promises to an electrified crowd to bring troops home within 16 months after he's elected.

"The America I believe in is an America that can lead the world against the 21st century challenges we face," he says. "Chicago, our moment is now. This is our moment."

"I don't want to be presiden of red America or blue America, I want to be present of the United States of America."

"That's why I'm running for president," Obama tells the crowd. "We're not alone, but we've been told that."

Obama has the attention of almost everyone in the theater, eyes glued and ears tuned to everything he has to say.

"I'm running to make sure we don't raise the minimum wage every ten years, we raise it every year," he tells the crowd.

It "just won't do" Obama tells the crowd, not now, not in this moment.

"If we're serious about winning this election, then we can't live in fear of losing it," he said.


"People don't understand an administration that treats our Constitution as a nuisance," he says.

The only mission that was accomplished was to take us into a war that never should have happened, he says as the crowd cheers.

"It's because of these failures that America is listening to the candidates in this election," he said. "America wants to believe again. It's because of that, this a moment of great challenge, but also great opportunity."

Part of the reason people are showing so much interest in this election, is that they know the name George W. Bush will not be on the ballot, Obama tells the crowd, and makes reference to the fact that his cousin, Dick Cheney, also won't be on the ballot.

"When they do these geneology things, you hope you're related to Martin Luther King," he said. "But Cheney?"

Obama asks the crowd "What is next for America?"

"Our nation is at war, the planet is in peril. The dream so many generations have fought for is slipping away," he says.

Obama says it's possible

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I"ve been running for president for about 10 months," Obama says. "Turns out, we might win. They said it couldn't be done, but it might be done"

Obama talk about trekking across the country, attracting crowds in NYC, Iowa other other locations. Obama talk about the diversity of those supporting him -- blacks, whites, old people, young people, gay people, and even a few Republicans.

You got 'em all fire up, Obama says to Wilco, shortly before giving them thanks. "Not only are they great musicians, I'm so greatful for them and their friendship."

"You're making me blush," Obama says, as he thanks the crowd, headliner Macy Gray and the rest of the performers

Wilco introduces Obama

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Crowd goes wild as Obama takes the state, dressed in a navy blue suit thanking the crowd.

Obama appearance

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It's 9 p.m., and presidential hopeful Barack Obama is slated to make his appearance on stage in about 15 minutes. He begins a weekend of stumping in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina with Chicago fave and powerhouse Oprah Winfrey tomorrow.

More in Lynn Sweet's blog

Background on Wilco

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Jeff Tweedy formed Wilco back in 1994 with members John Stirratt, Max Johnston, and Ken Coomer. They've released six albums -- in addition to two collaboration albums with Billy Bragg and one with The Minus 5.

Looks like most of the acts thus far have some ties to Chicago.

Jeff Tweedy brought his friends along with him. Originally on the slate to perform solo, Wilco just took the stage to perform.

Not sure if it's because they want them to leave the stage or are happy to see them. Apparently there are a lot of people up in the balcony -- a huge contrast to who's on the main floor. The Cool Kids keep saying "Wilco" will perform, however, Jeff Tweedy was the only one slated to take the stage tonight.

Cool Kids not so cool?

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The stage crew is busy setting up for the next act, while the Cool Kids talk about -- nothing -- onstage. At one point, they're talking about some commerical on TV. The crowd doesn't seem all that interested. They'll perform one more song before the next act takes the stage.

Just can't get enough

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Cool Kids come back on stage to turn the event into a "party." They say they usually jump all over stuff, but they don't think this crowd is that type of crowd.

'The Changes' it is ...

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The band's closing song is their hit "Her You and I." They're a band from Chicago that was formed back in March 2002 that combines rock with "jangle and jazzy rhythms." They debuted their first album back in 1996.


Click here to read more about the band on its Web site>>

Talk much?

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We're still not sure who's performing, and from the sound of the crowd, neither do they. There's a lot of chatter going on among the crowd, at least from the pen we in the media are sectioned off in. I suspect it's "The Changes," which sound a lot like most Indie bands.

Outta nowhere

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After a brief performance from the Cool Kids, the next band charged the stage, asking the crowd to cheer for Obama. No word on who they are -- they left out their introductions.

Can you hear me now?

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Sounds like most of the cheering and chatter's coming from the balcony seats -- undoubtly the cheap seats that Barack's young voters can afford.

Ode to the Beastie Boys

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After brief chatter with the crowd, the Cool Kids rap their ode to the Beastie Boys. They call themselves the black version of the popular band.

Cool Kids: We rap

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Cool Kids take the stage again for a short performance. They're a rap duo -- and have managed to get the crowd to start clapping, though some of the veteran members of the crowd seem to be swaying in the wind with confusion.

Set change

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Word is Obama is supposed to appear to the crowd shortly after 9:15 -- undoubtly inbetween sets. No word on whether he'll show up before or after headliner Macy Gray.

With the array of artists on the musical palate tonight, Canasta is only playing three songs. Here's a clip via YouTube of what they sound like ...

They're a band from Chicago that formed in early 2002 and have headlined across the country, including at the Metro and Double Door in Chicago.

Lights went down shortly after 7:30 with hosts the "Cool Kids" in front of the crowd of about about 200 hundred or so.

Crowded anonymously between vacant storefronts, auto-repair shops and discount markets on a desolate North Side street, the nondescript white building housing Wilco’s band loft belongs in one of its songs. The space itself is furnished with them.

Tonight -- starting at 8 -- I'll be live-blogging the Barack Obama "Change Rocks" concert/fundraiser at the Riveria Theater.

As reported Thursday by Sun-Times Washington bureau chief and blogger Lynn Sweet, Macy Gray is now headlining Barack Obama's Friday night fundraiser at The Riviera in Uptown.

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