The Celebrities: Music for all tastes as stars back their man

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The Independent US

Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder, and the hip-hop artist Will.i.am warmed up the crowd for Barack Obama, in a lively series of pre-show performances that aimed to reach out to Americans of every musical persuasion.

The star-studded affair, before a packed crowd of 80,000 at Invesco Field, was headlined by Crow, whose fan base includes flag-waving aficionados of country music who might normally be expected to have Republican sympathies.

Will.i.am, who has already composed several tracks and made campaign videos for Mr Obama, was charged with entertaining younger, urban delegates. Wonder was booked to appeal to traditional Democrats who have seen him perform at several previous conventions.

Each star attempted to tailor their act to celebrate the nearest thing America has to a rock-star politician for a generation. Crowe said: "What I'm hearing from Senator Obama is a lot like what we heard from Robert Kennedy. No matter what campaign ad we see, or how it's spun, hope is important. It's what this country was based on."

Wonder repeatedly inserted the Obama campaign motto "yes we can," into his lyrics, and ended the set with "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" – a potential nod to his view on the likely outcome of this year's presidential race.

Middle America was further catered for by the booking of Michael McDonald of Steely Dan on the undercard, and that of Jennifer Hudson to sing the national anthem. However, rumours that the working-man's poet laureate, Bruce Springsteen, would headline the show and appear with Mr Obama on stage proved wide of the mark. Perhaps organisers decided "The Boss" was one celeb too far. "Even though Springsteen won't be playing, Barack Obama was 'born to run'," joked Cory Booker, the Newark Mayor. And when the show was over, the crowds left to the strains of "Born in the USA".

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