Matt and I had a really fantastic night on Friday. The fundraiser for Obama at The Park West here in Chicago was a wonderful event.
I should note that it started with Matt not making it through security because of a small silver Swiss Army knife he keeps on his key ring. I gave it to him on our honeymoon almost 12 years ago. Imagine my surprise when I saw him get rejected from security and then watched him turn and run out the door and down the sidewalk – I had no idea why, and wasn’t even sure he was going to be back! I started to wonder if my husband wasn’t leading some kind of double life. However, he buried it in a neighbor’s planter for later retrieval. (I’d like to think I’d be so resourceful in a moment like that, but I can say with certainty that I would not. Better him than me.)
Thanks to a serendipitous upgrade of our tickets, we had excellent seats. It would have been hard to have bad seats at The Park West, though: there were only about 700 people there, I was told. At any rate, we had a perfectly clear view of the stage and it was so fun to be in a small venue for such an exciting event. Otis Clay rocked the gospel on stage first and he was excellent – that dude and his band can groove! Of course, Matt and I were all aflutter when Jeff Tweedy and two other members of Wilco arrived on stage, and they did not disappoint. You know, I have been to a Wilco show before and I enjoyed it but didn’t love it. This time? Loved it. Maybe it was the smaller band or the cozier venue, but they played well and the music was tight. And Jeff Tweedy provides a lot of hilarious small-talk. One of my favorite moments was when he shared with us that “Barack Obama smells better than a President has any right to” and gave Obama grief for not publicly stating that he’s a Wilco fan, given that Wilco is a local band (Obama later dispelled this myth, thankfully: phew!). I will also admit that I so enjoyed the Wilco portion of the show that I actually forgot that Barack Obama was coming up next in the program. Until the Secret Service guys started to appear in front of the stage, watching the crowd, that is. Do they freak anyone else out, or is that just me? *shudder*
Senator Obama was great. He does speak articulately and passionately, and his message resonates with me. I can’t imagine how tired he must have been. He was in another state earlier that day and had already been at another fundraiser in Chicago that evening (where he had to tell Bernie Mac to tone it down a bit). Hearing him speak now is very different from his early speeches. He’s talking about specific issues and timelines and it’s all a lot more serious. Which is as it should be, much as I would love to take part of one of his early “Fired up! Ready to go!” routines. I could have listened to him for hours, but the mom in me was glad he was heading home to his own family and his own bed that night – or so I hoped. I want to believe that Obama can win this fall, but as my father said, I’m not going to try to predict. I’ve been burned too many times. But I am absolutely full of hope.
Matt did retrieve his pocket knife, by the way, but only after Obama was driven away into the night, whizzed off by the Secret Service agents as we cheered and waved (I’m pretty sure he waved to me personally – don’t you think?), because the street was closed off until he’d left. We headed home ourselves, satisfied by a wonderful night out, and holding tight to our new Obama/Tweedy poster (pictured above: do you see the Hancock Building in that guitar? that’s my favorite part) which will be framed and hung for all the world to see, whatever November brings.