‘Like a rock star, but with substance’
The anticipation building through the afternoon and evening in the crowd of an estimated 75,000 at Invesco Field boiled over when Democratic nominee Barack Obama walked through the pillars on the makeshift stage.
By that time, night had fallen over the stadium, somehow adding an intimacy to what had seemed a cavernous pavilion in the Rocky Mountain twilight.
Television platform lights and baselights from the podium created eerie shadows over the crowd.
An expectant hush fell on the audience as a brief biographical film was shown that emphasized Obama's upbringing by a single mother.
And then Obama finally took the stage, with soft music playing behind him and a sea of fluttering, blue Obama/Change signs bathed in white light. The crowd was stomping so hard on the floorboards that the rumble felt like a tremor.
After three minutes of cheering, Obama only briefly quieted the crowd before it burst out in another roar as he said, “I accept your nomination for the presidency.” The way the simple line was received, it may as well have been an anthem.
“I feel the way we used to feel with the Beatles or the Rolling Stones,” said Virginia Rep. James Moran, sitting on the stadium field, describing what he called the “electric” feeling in Mile High Stadium Thursday night.
Moran told The Examiner that Obama's speech on the final day of the Democratic National Convention would be “like a concert with a rock star, but with substance.”
And when Stevie Wonder sang “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” – perhaps a reference to Obama's official acceptance of his party's nomination – even TV journalists such as Bob Schieffer of CBS and Jeff Greenfield of CNN could be seen on the stadium's big screen jamming to the music.
During the day, the stadium crowd took on a communitarian feeling. There was music from the late 1960s and the early seventies, and even a woman offering up her hands for free massages outside gate 4.
But commerce was alive and well. While the Broncos team store was open for business, few ventured in, preferring to spend their dollars on one of the 20-plus styles of Obama t-shirts available, ranging from $15-25.
Examiner Staff Writer Jeff Dufour contributed to this story.