Trying to Trade Up at Midwest Ball
Our colleague Michelle Thomas reports:
At 6:00 p.m., Sheryl Crow is conducting a soundcheck. "I have not seen my child in four days," she says into the microphone. "I'm miserable."
An hour after the Midwest Ball begins, guests milled in confusion, right hands wielding styrofoam appetizer plates piled with cold penne pasta and raw veggies, left ones clutching $12 glasses of champagne.
A pile of coats -- "the coat check is so far," one woman remarked -- grew in the corner.
At 7:40 p.m., just before the ball begins, Dennis Kucinich and his wife (in a ruffled periwinkle gown) mingled with the guests, discussing appropriate ball attire.
Overheard: "Do you know who I could bribe to get into the Mid-Atlantic Ball?" asked a New Yorker who wound up at the Midwest Ball after the Mid-Atlantic tickets sold out. "I got $200 in my pocket."
The Fabulous Motown Ruvue, the Midwest Ball's kickoff entertainment, hit the stage at 8:00 p.m.
Crow played an 11-song set. She danced with a uniformed Marine named Kyle to "The First Cut is the Deepest," a cover of a Cat Stevens song. Kyle sang a wobbly verse and exited to cheers and applause. Crow also performed "Strong Enough," directing the song to Obama. Crow said, "I can't remember the last time I did a show in a dress and high heels. This is my service to the country." Crow performed a version of "I Can See Clearly Now," changing the lyrics: "You won't see me bitching and moaning now that Barack Obama is in office." She finished her set with "Everyday is a Winding Road" at 10:50 p.m. The stage emptied.
Arms reached up, cameras in hand, waiting, ready. Nothing. Arms went back down.
At 10:55, Biden took the stage. He opened with, "Today, we witnessed history. Jill and I were proud to play a small part." He quoted an Irish poem by Seamus Heaney. Biden finished speaking -- he and Jill danced to a verse of "Have I Told You Lately" and were done by 11:01.
Then, silence -- and a lot of anticipation for the crowd. No one knew that the Obamas werent' scheduled to arrive until 1 a.m. Right before Obama got there, there was some commotion -- someone fainted.
Obama took the stage at 11:42. Somebody screamed, "I love you." He said, "I love you back. Michelle loves you back." Obama continued: "There's something about the Midwest. Something about the heartland that speaks to Michelle and myself. Both are plainspoken and hardworking." Then, Obama said, "I'd like to dance with the one who brung me -- the one who did everything I do, but backwards and in heels." They danced to "At Last."
Michelle gave a small wave to the crowd, to huge cheers. He kissed her on the cheek. It was cute. They laughed. They left at 11:47 p.m. Everybody bumrushed the exit.
Posted by: blasmaic | January 21, 2009 1:49 AM | Report abuse
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