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Opening acts rock the Living History Farms for Obama visit

Photo by Lauren Horsch

The National, an indie-rock group from Cincinnati, Ohio played at President Obama’s grassroots event at the Living History Farms in West Des Moines early this afternoon. The group, a favorite among college students and young Americans, got its start in 1999 giving them a decade worth of fans.

The band came out to wild applause and started with their song “Bloodbuzz Ohio” followed with their song “Terrible Love.”
Before playing one of its most popular songs, “Fake Empire,” the lead singer Matt Berninger explained

“This song was written before President Obama was elected in 2008.”

The band finished off their five-song set with another hit “Mr. November,” which was used for one of the band T-shirts that featured a portrait of the President with the title underneath. All profit from the sales of that T-shirt went to the Obama campaign.

After the set, one of the band members encouraged voters to “vote early everyone. Get out and vote.”

The band announced its performance earlier this week via Twitter saying “Proud to support @BarackObama again in 2012. We’ll be opening for him in Des Moines on Sept 1. Follow @OFA_IA for details. #fourmoreyears.” Locals have been kept up-to-date on the performance using the hashtag #BaROCKdsm.

This is not the first time The National has shown its support for the President. The band opened for another speech by President Obama in Madison, Wisc., in 2010.

Chris Cornell

Photo by James Glade

Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog fame took the stage after a performance by The National and a few speeches at President Obama’s grassroots event at the Living History Farms of suburban Des Moines.

Cornell was greeted with thunderous applause as he walked out alone with guitar in hand. He started his set with an original, “What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding?” and followed with a song from his Audioslave days called “Wide Awake.”

After a few words Cornell resumed his set with one of Audioslave’s most famous songs “Hunger Strike.” Cornell then shared some social views in his description of how he wrote the song “Wooden Jesus”, a Temple of the Dog song.

Cornell explained that he was listening to a Christian radio station in 1989 when someone came on trying to “scare poor people into giving them (the station) their money.” Cornell said, “They preyed on the people that could afford it the least and that really bothered me.”

Cornell finished his set with two covers of hopeful songs. Cornell’s first cover “As Long as I Can See the Light”, was originally popularized by Creedence Clearwater Revival’s John Fogerty.

The crowd went wild for Cornell’s last song, a cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” which Cornell described as “one of the best songs anyone could have ever written.” Cornell ended his performance by thanking everyone for supporting the President.

Stephanie Pella, a press assistant for the Obama campaign gave some background on how the day’s musical acts came to be.

“I think that we have a lot of support from a lot of industries and that includes music.” Pella said,

“This event in itself shows how much the President cares about Iowa and the bands are just a part of it.”



  1. oma33 September 1, 2012

    This is the man for the job he cares about me the middle class and as an independent voter it gives me a clear choice over Mr Romney who doesn’t care much.

  2. NTM September 1, 2012

    “What’s So Funny Bout Peace Love and Understanding” is a Nick Lowe cover, not an original, and “Hunger Strike” is a Temple of the Dog song, not Audioslave

  3. Matt September 1, 2012

    The music details are really wrong. Unless “What’s So Funny about Peace, Love, and Understanding” is a different song than the one made popular by Elvis Costello, it’s not an original. This would make the last two songs his second and third covers. Also, “Hunger Strike” is a Temple of the Dog song written a decade before Audioslave existed. This probably doesn’t matter, but at least half of the people finding this article are going to care more about music than politics and it helps the latter to get details of the former right.

  4. Kels September 1, 2012

    What was the other song the national played? You say they played five, but only mention: Bloodbuzz, Terrible Love, Fake Empire, and Mr. November.
    Thanks from an out-of-towner!

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