White House hopeful Barack Obama won even louder cheers than Wilco Friday night as he kicked off a series of Ba-rock concerts he plans to hold around the country energizing young fans.
"The speech was awesome!" Matt Marneris, 23, said as Obama finished at the Riviera in Uptown. "I just came here with my friend. I would have considered myself a Republican, but not anymore."
"Jesus Christ our president..." Wilco lead singer Jeff Tweedy sang in a Woody Guthrie song written before Obama's candidacy.
But from the enhusiastic cheering for the man Tweedy introduced as "the next president of the United States," it might have seemed like it was written for Obama.
The American people "don't understand an administration that treats the Constitution as a nuisance rather than as the foundation of our liberty," Obama said to cheers from multiple levels of fans who spent $50, $75, or $100 to see him and the bands. "This is our moment! This is our moment!"
In a surprise move, four of the six members of Wilco appeared, along with members of Third Eye Blind, whose lead singer Stephan Jenkins promised to go to Iowa for Obama if audience members would pick up their cell phones and call to volunteer immediately.
"I think he's the only candidate who has the potential to bring the nation together and to heal the wounds that have been inflicted by this administration," said Erin Heard, 36, of Libertyville.
The candidate with rock star appeal took the stage in the wake of polls showing he has a chance to win next month's Iowa caucus, and said: "I have been running for president for 10 months now, and it turns out we might win."
The crowd screamed back: "YAAAAAA!"
After appearances with Oprah Winfrey this weekend, Obama resumes the rock concerts, joining the Goo Goo Dolls in Los Angeles.