THE PLANK AUGUST 28, 2008
According to the Democratic National Convention schedule for tonite, Barack Obama has an impressive array of performers set to tee up his stadium speech. For the national anthem, there's American Idol/Broadway star Jennifer Hudson. Later on, there's will.i.am, a new sensation for the young Obama fans. Followed by Sheryl Crow, an established rock star for the soccer moms. That sets the stage for Stevie Wonder, a bona fide national treasure. Whose performance will surely build up the excitement for....Michael McDonald!
Michael McDonald? Yes, the blue-eyed soulster from the Doobie Brothers, that Michael McDonald. Perhaps you remember him from his 1986 #1 hit duet with Patti Labelle, On My Own. Or the time the Doobies appeared on an episode of What's Happening? (ReRun was caught trying to make a bootleg of the concert.)
No disrespect to chart-topping songs like 1978's Takin' It to the Streets, but: Really? Maybe the Obama folk have some elaborate sine curve idea about crowd excitement, where things build up to Stevie and Al Gore and then everyone catches their breath with McDonald and Dick Durbin. Or think the Doobie demographic could be the key to Ohio. Or maybe nice-guy McDonald is only pretending to be on the schedule, in order to clear up space for some officially-denied surprise performer. Still, if the Crow-to-Wonder-to-McDonald succession is their idea of building a frenzy, it could be a long fall for the Obama folk.