The scene outside Assembly Hall Sunday looked more like a tailgate party before a football game than a concert.
Thousands of concertgoers anxiously waited, some for more than 12 hours, to get good seats for the free Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds concert, "Change Rocks," in support of Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama.
Among the card-playing, football-throwing fans, IU East student Lacey Isaacs stood wearily at the very front of the line. She had been in line since 10 p.m. Saturday night, she said, and was a little displeased with the organization of the event.
"They kept changing everything around, and then we heard that the first 200 seats were going to VIPs," she said.
The first 200 seats, to Isaacs' dismay, did go to the VIP ticket holders, who rushed in to the stadium with no order or restraint. Thousands of excited students followed the VIPs, flooding the basketball court and first dozen rows of seats.
VIP tickets were given to students who registered 20 people to vote before the Friday deadline. Voter registration for Indiana, however, ends today, and early voting begins Tuesday.
Lawrence North High School senior Kevin Kinghorn said he had great expectations for the concert.
"This is going to be a great show, the best show," he said. "I mean, it's Dave Matthews, he can do whatever he wants."
Kinghorn said he most looked forward to the excitement and joy he would get from the concert, "especially for free."
"I've been a fan of Dave's since I was five, and this will be an awesome show," he said.
IU alumnus Andrew Cassis of Fort Knob, Ind., said he came to the concert as a "huge Dave fan," with his 9-months-pregnant wife, Angie.
The Cassis' drove several hours to see the musician, whom they also saw at one of Matthew's favorite places to play, the Gorge Amphitheater, in Seattle, Wash., on Labor Day last year.
"I guarantee that a lot of votes will come from this concert," Angie Cassis said.
Andrew Cassis agreed, saying that "when it comes down to it, winning Indiana and Kentucky will give Obama the competitive edge to win the nomination."
He added that it could very well put Obama into the White House because of his outreach to the students at IU.
In the nearly-packed Assembly Hall, Andrew Cassis was interrupted by the roar from the audience as members of Students for Barack Obama and Bloomington mayor Mark Kruzan came onto the stage.
"I only have three questions for you," Kruzan said. "Number one: are you ready to change America? Number two: do you believe in yourself? Number three: are you going to vote?"
Correcting himself, Kruzan asked his fourth question: "Will you join me in welcoming Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds?"
As Matthews and Reynolds walked on stage, a deafening roar erupted from the crowd.
The duo opened with "Bartender," creating a nearly 17,000-person sing-a-long, setting an energetic vibe for the rest of the concert.
"It's very nice to be here again, after a short period away," Matthews said. "I hope we fill the spaces in you that need filling."
In an interview with the Indiana Daily Student Friday, the Grammy award-winning musician said he "felt moved by Obama" and was "inspired to become a part of the campaign by throwing whatever weight I could behind him."
Matthews said he believes that "young people in America have not felt moved to be part of the political process."
"People think it's empty to talk about big ideas, philosophy and inclusiveness," Matthews said. "That's rubbish. It's all about having big ideas, then figuring out the nuts and bolts."
Matthews praised Obama for recognizing the importance of young people in the political process and said he offers a "profound chance, where the most important thing is to inspire our youth."
© 2008 Indiana Daily Student via U-WIRE