Dem Convention Music, Day 4: We'll Do It Live! (Mostly)

Was it a political rally or a rock concert? Last night’s Convention Grande Finale featured about as much live-on-stage performance as the previous 3 nights combined. The always hard-working house band got a few more breaks than usual as several recorded songs were used. While it was a mixed bag again, I believe that the percentage of songs-not-yet-old-enough-to-vote was higher than on any of the previous nights.

Funk/soul/R&B continued its strong presence on the song list, which I think is pretty cool, given that the Democratic party just nominated its first African American presidential candidate. I tuned in just before Howard Dean’s speech, and therefore just in time to hear his outro(s), featuring three grandes dames of their genre(s):

Aretha Franklin: “Think”

Diana Ross: “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”

India.Arie: “There’s Hope”
I would’ve been happy to hear the rest of this song, but there was a schedule to stick to, I guess, and it was cut off prior to the entrance of Georgia Congressman John Lewis.

Click Mr. Readmore to see what thousands heard!

U2: “Beautiful Day”
This was a recording rather than a house band cover, but still a retread times 3 — come on!

The All American Rejects: “Move Along”
Now we’re getting somewhere — the India.Arie song above opened the door to the 21st century, and this song walked through it!

Not so fast, though — it’s back to the 70’s, baby!

The Staple Singers: “I’ll Take You There”

Stevie Wonder: “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours”

More songs than speakers so far — no complaints here!

Time for our first live-on-stage performance: and John Legend: “Yes We Can”
I like the use of Obama’s spoken words in the song. For my fellow music-reading nerds playing along at home, here’s the rhythm that “Yes We Can” is set to during the latter portion of the song:

And the musical interlude continues!

Earth, Wind & Fire: “Shining Star”

The Beatles: “Across The Universe”
Sounded like the Rufus Wainwright cover, maybe? I confess that I put our friend Rufus in the category, ‘People Who Need To Get Over Themselves’, but I’m not saying he ain’t talented.

Live-on-stage performance #2:

Sheryl Crow: “A Change Would Do You Good”, “Out of our Heads”, and “Everyday Is A Winding Road”, with a segue to “I Can See Clearly Now”
I don’t know whose idea it was for Sheryl to attempt the audience sing-a-long thing, but it didn’t really get off the ground. Not all songs lend themselves well to that, and neither did these. Oh well.

Eric Clapton and Babyface: “Change the World”

Another repeat, sigh. Intro for Colorado Congressman Mark Udall.

The Beatles: “A Hard Day’s Night”

And we heard this last night, too — crikey, there are millions of songs in the world, people! Anyway, this introduced Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. I liked the funny sign I saw an audience member holding poking fun at celebrating Kaine’s signature facial feature.

Next up: two shout-outs to the country fans among us, even though they might hesitate to admit it (there’s plenty of good country music — you just have to ignore the over-produced fake crap that gets most of the airplay and seek out the y’allternative):

Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles: “Who Says You Can’t Go Home”

Taylor Swift: “Change”
We heard this on Wednesday night, too. 😛

Live-on-stage performance #3:

Stevie Wonder, Take 6 and Drums of Unity: “Fear Can’t Put Dreams to Sleep”, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours”
Stevie Wonder loves you. Remember that when you feel the urge to say something snarky about him not being as ::whatever:: as he once was. You’re not getting any younger there yourself, sparky! (I’m betting you don’t have 26 Grammys on your mantle, either!)

Oh, and as Stevie demonstrated, as if everything else he is and does weren’t enough, Barack Obama is the Major Scale, too!

Curtis Mayfield: “Move On Up”

The Fifth Dimension: “Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In”
Intro for noted hippie Al Gore. That’s what we call reappropriation, boys and girls!

Michael McDonald: “America the Beautiful”
My, my, my, my, MY, but people were snotty about him on the open threads last night! I mean, sure, we all wish Ray Charles could’ve lived forever, but — “Santa Claus… with his Casio”? Mee-ow!

All I can say is, I’ll be thrilled and grateful if, when I’m 56, I get to do something half as major as performing for over 80,000 people at one of the most momentous occasions in my country’s history. My hair will be dyed on that day, you can bet your sweet hind leg, but that’s neither here nor there.

He also gets props for recognizing his stagemate Ray Chew, house band leader for this entire shin-dig. Whether you loved the music or hated it, you must admit that he and the band worked hard to entertain us all week long.

Finally, as I’ve said elsewhere, anyone who has the sense of humor to do a song like this is okay by me.

I am not well-versed in Marching Band music, so I can’t tell you what was played at this point — any erstwhile tubists out there who can clue us in?

Bruce Springsteen: “Born in the USA”
Something tells me we’ve heard this one before, but I s’pose one could argue it’s ageless and evergreen.

John Lennon: “Power to the People”
Si, se friggin’ puede! BTW, may I deliver a posthumous Bronx cheer to the Nixon Administration for its efforts to deport John Lennon? Thank you.

McFadden and Whitehead: “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now”
That’s right, baby!

Drumroll, please!

U2: “City of Blinding Lights”
Intro for O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA! Speechless, I was, and still am!

Brooks and Dunn: “Only in America”

Then came some 50’s or 60’s film-score sounding music — McDoc called it ‘Marlboro Man music’, heh — that’s my baby! 😀 Anyone recognize it? Lemme know.

UPDATE: A source has informed me that this music came from Remember the Titans. Cowboys, football players — same thing, right? 😛

Bruce Springsteen: “Born in the USA”
And it’s déjà-vu all over again! But that’s okay, because that’s the exact opposite of what’s gonna happen in November! Rock on!


If you enjoyed this post, would you consider…

  • Dropping some change in the Miss Music Nerd Tip Jar?
  • <a target=”_blank” href=””>Emailing it to a friend?
  • Thanks — you make the world a better place! 🙂


    Dem Convention Music, Day 4: We'll Do It Live! (Mostly) — 1 Comment

    1. > here’s the rhythm that “Yes We Can” is set to during the latter portion of the song:

      Hmmm, Taking the “Yes We Can” chant by itself, without the underlying song, I hear it in 8/8, as 3+3+2.

      What do you think?

      (and how’s this for extended nerdery? Discussing the meter of a politcal chant? LOL!)