lessons from America

I was there – Obama @ Invesco stadium

I was there.

I was there to witness history being made.
I was there to celebrate Obama’s nomination with 70,000 Democrats (and a lot of media).
I was there to stand up for change.

I was lucky enough at the last minute to get a pass inside Invesco Field at Mile High, to give the stadium its full name.  Due to the hassles in getting in, I had missed some of the early entertainment and warm-up acts. In fact I heard but not saw the first few speeches whilst in another queue: for hot dogs – one of the ‘healthier’ food options available from the stadium’s catering outlets. Bill Richardson impressed more for his speaking in both English and Spanish than for his content. 

There I found myself inside, only two hours before Obama was due to go stage and officially accept the Democratic party’s nomination as presidential candidate – America’s first black nominee. This was about to the moment I’d been hoping and waiting for. And, even with the hassles of getting in, it was just amazing to actually be there. 

If Denver is the Mile High City, then my seat felt it was located 1.5 miles high. Up in the ‘nose-bleed section’ as someone put it, maybe ten rows from the very top of this 75,0000 capacity stadium. Certainly a wow factor when I first emerged: all those rows of seats, all those people, all that noise. Incredible.

This view directly down to the stage / podium doesn’t do justice to the steep banks of seating all around the stadium or the sheer numbers of people here. But you can see the platforms that each of the TV networks had set up to use as their studios, housing their teams of commentators and analysts covering proceedings live (and probably often talking over the speeches!)

I took my seat just in time to see Stevie Wonder … and one of the big crescendos of excitement within the stadium. “Signed, sealed and delivered” was Barack’s signature tune during the primaries, played immediately after he finished his speeches. Very moving seeing it performed live, and a cue for lots of dancing and flag-waving.

Al Gore took to the podium to thunderous applause. He seemed genuinely touched and pleased with his reception. Like Kerry the night before, here was a Democrat presidential candidate who is more popular and better at delivering speeches at this Convention than in the one in which he was nominated.

As the sun set behind the stadium …

Veep candidate Joe Biden stepped out. He is loving this Convention; and people here are loving him back. Quite a short speech by Biden, more putting in an appearance and pushing home a few well crafted attacks on Bush-McCain then anything more substantial. But he’d done the heavy-lifting on Wednesday.


Interestingly, there seemed to be many more African-Americans in the audience than I’d seen at events and in crowds in the preceding days.

August 30, 2008 Posted by | Denver Diary | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments