RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
When Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination tonight, it will be in a football stadium that seats 75,000 people. With giant video screens, a light show and music, it will feel a lot like a rock concert. And that might be a new experience for many of the elected officials and delegates. So we sent NPR's Robert Smith to a Bruce Springsteen show in Pennsylvania to get some advice for delegates on proper stadium etiquette.
(Soundbite of music)
ROBERT SMITH: In the parking lot of Hershey Park Stadium, the hardcore Springsteen fans have assembled early. There are beers to drink and "Born to Run" on the car stereo. Catherine Regal(ph) says if you want to rock out in a stadium you have to perfect the art of the tailgate.
Ms. CATHERINE REGAL (Springsteen Fan): We brought tenderloin. We brought some potatoes.
SMITH: To live it up.
Ms. REGAL: Yeah. Absolutely.
SMITH: You know, the tailgaters here are sitting around listening to Bruce Springsteen. Would you recommend...
Ms. REGAL: Yes.
SMITH: ...in Denver that they sit around and listen to old Barack Obama speeches?
Ms. REGAL: They could do that.
SMITH: Get excited?
Ms. REGAL: They could. I think that would be a good thing. That's what we're doing here. We're getting all psyched.
SMITH: You see, rock concerts are tribal events and it's all about fitting in. Regal says Obama fans should go all the way tonight. Wear the t-shirt, paint the face with a big O.
Ms. REGAL: You need to participate in it. You need to sing. You need to dance. That's the thing that makes it the most exciting.
SMITH: And then if you're really into it you get on somebody's shoulders, right?
Ms. REGAL: Well, you can. If you weigh little enough, yes, you may.
(Soundbite of laughter)
SMITH: But if Democratic delegates haven't been to a rock concert in years, they may find some things have change. With all the no smoking rules, don't expect to hold up your lighter during the emotional parts of Barack Obama's speech. At concerts these days, people hold their glowing cell phones a lot.
And a hardy applause may have worked in the small arena, but in a stadium you have to scream your head off. Diane Gracioso(ph) and Joe Tomtician(ph) show me the Springsteen way.
(Soundbite of screaming)
SMITH: So you would say the key is to get up in a high register?
Mr. JOE TOMTICIAN (Springsteen Fan): Oh, yeah.
SMITH: To clap and go woo-hoo.
Mr. TOMTICIAN: Born to run, baby! Wooo!
SMITH: OK. So let me transcribe that. That was boo-yah right, baby. Is that right?
Mr. TOMTICIAN: Born to run, baby.
SMITH: Tomtician has been to hundreds of concerts, he says. He can answer even the most delicate concert etiquette question.
It's still funny to scream out Freebird at a concert?
Mr. TOMTICIAN: Yes, it still is. I scream it all the time.
(Soundbite of laughter)
SMITH: So would you advise delegates to the Democratic National Convention at some point to scream out Freebird to Barack Obama? Would that be funny?
Mr. TOMTICIAN: It'd be funny, because I'm a Republican. I would find that hilarious.
SMITH: Democrats not so much. Right before the lights went down in the stadium I ran into Sean Drury. He says there's lots of similarities between Springsteen fans and Obama supporters. They both have dedication and they both have enthusiasm. But he warns them, don't get carried away tonight in Denver.
Mr. SEAN DRURY (Springsteen Fan): Don't shout out while the artist, or in this case the speaker, is speaking.
SMITH: Don't shout out?
Mr. DRURY: Absolutely not.
SMITH: Don't yell out: Do the one about change!
Mr. DRURY: Yeah. Or don't - we love you, Barack. He knows that, otherwise he wouldn't be there. I mean, etiquette is just basically let the speaker speak.
(Soundbite of cheering)
Mr. DRURY: I kind of wish more of the political conventions were like rock concerts. Then they wouldn't have an hour of primetime television. They'd be on a lot longer.
(Soundbite of cheering)
SMITH: My interviews are officially over when Springsteen takes the stage. Rule number one in rock or politics: enjoy the show.
Robert Smith, NPR News.
(Soundbite of song, "Summertime Blues")
Mr. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: Well, I'm gonna raise a fuss, I'm gonna raise a holler. Well, I've been working all summer just to try to earn a dollar. I call up my baby, I try to get a date, No dice son, you gotta work late. Sometimes I wonder what I'm a gonna do. There ain't no cure for these summertime blues.
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