The “Show” Behind the Show at the Democratic National Convention

Band practice Photo: Lee Gleiser

Someone has to get the thousands of balloons placed on that ceiling before they can drop tonight! Photo: Lee Gleiser

For the media, the pressure is intense to capture the story Photo: Lee Gleiser
Katy Perry at soundcheck this morning. Photo: Lee Gleiser



If there’s one thing the Democrats know how to do, it’s put on a great show. From the music, to the lights, to the speeches, to the performers everything is perfectly planned.

Don’t believe me? Did you catch 40 of Broadway’s best, singing “What the World Needs Now is Love?” last night? It set the mood for the entire evening.

But all that magic doesn’t happen by magic.

It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of people. And it takes a lot of practice.

Arrive at the Wells Fargo Center at 6 a.m. when we do, and this is what it looks like.

An empty Wells Fargo Center looks completely different than what you see on TV Photo: Lee Gleiser

The morning after is the time to plan for the night to come.

This morning  the empty hallways echoed  with, “Four score and seven years ago.”

I went into the arena to see what was going on and discovered   Katy Perry reading the words of the Gettysburg Address to get used to the teleprompter.

Donned in a blue track suit complete with dark sunglasses, a ball cap, and shower shoes, you would never know it was her, until  she started singing.  Yet, despite her seeming nonchalance, she posted a picture of herself on stage to her instagram site with the caption, “Guess where I am?”

It took several practice entrances, and a number of run throughs of  her hit “Roar” to get the mix just right. She was a true professional. She’d sing, stop, ask for an adjustment, try it again. You’ll never it know that tonight when she hits the stage.  Get ready for a show!

For a look behind the scenes at the “show” before the show, check out these photos.

Lots of people are part of the planning for what you’ll see on stage at the DNC
Photo: Lee Gleiser





Color guard practice. The positioning of the flags is key so that they frame the podium and don’t look as if they are “growing” out of a speaker’s head. Photo: Lee Gleiser

The seats on the floor are all reserved. Not just anyone gets to sit there. Photo: Lee Gleiser









Ever wonder how all those signs get distributed? Volunteers in yellow vests stand at the ready to hand them out in the arena before each speaker. Photo: Lee Gleiser











It’s no easy task to distribute signs in this crowed! Photo: Lee Gleiser


That phone better work by tonight or heads will roll! Photo: Lee Gleiser

Even the stagehands have a political point of view Photo: Lee Gleiser


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