Delegates attending the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia were treated to a free concert in Camden featuring Lady Gaga, Lenny Kravitz, and DJ Jazzy Jeff.
The Thursday event at Camden’s BB&T Pavilion was closed to the general public. To get a ticket, you had to be a delegate, a friend of a delegate, or someone with strong ties to the Democratic Party. Even members of the media were not allowed into the party for 7,000.
The timing of the event — the afternoon before Hillary Clinton formally accepts the party nomination — was designed to energize Democrats at a critical moment.
After four days of speeches, debates, and protests, Cecelia McCloy — a delegate from California and a Lady Gaga fan — is exhausted from this “Bad Romance.”
“We’ve had a very emotional convention,” said McCloy. “In the California delegation — the largest, we have 551 delegates — 200-plus are Bernie delegates, and they are very disappointed he is not the nominee,” she said. “I can completely understand that because I was a Hillary delegate in 2008 and completed disappointed that she didn’t make it. There is still a lot of emotion. And so, this is a fun, hang back and relax party.”
One of those Bernie delegates is Rick Day, from a small town in Georgia called Ellijay. “It’s a Cherokee word, meaning ‘where the waters meet.'”
The 60-year-old fan of Lenny Kravitz says “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over,” asking “Are You Gonna Go My Way?”
“It’s been a contentious convention,” said Day. “There’s been a lot of tension. The unity is not there yet. We’re all trying to work together. This concert is a good break for us, to let go for a while, have a good time, and be with our fellow delegates.”
One delegate from California, Connie Thomas, said the concert was a good opportunity to get up from those stadium chairs in the Wells Fargo Center, stretch her legs, and talk about things that have nothing to do with politics.
For David Meadows, a delegate from Washington, D.C., this was his big chance to finally see Lady Gaga, a gay icon. He had tickets to the 2013 “Born This Way” tour, which was canceled due to a hip injury.
“I was a young delegate in 2000 for Al Gore,” said Meadows. “Then, there were 150 openly gay delegates. There’s about 650 this convention. It’s shows how far the party has come and the nation on LGBT rights. Lady Gaga is up there with Liza and Barbara and all those icons that us gay men love.”