The Democratic presidential candidate was due to speak before 84,000 worshippers in Mile High stadium, home of the Denver Broncos, who have six times contested America's quintessential sporting event.
Outside the ring of steel, activists offered free hugs in exchange for credentials. Ticket touts waved filthy fivers at the journalists for spare passes. Let's just say the price wasn't right.
When people poured from the stadium afterwards, mainlining hope, the same hawkers were there flogging t-shirts (in XXX-L for the bulky brothers) and asking to buy the same used passes. There's a premium for this sort of thing on ebay.
The Democratic National Convention was a perfect allegory for the nation Barack Obama seeks to lead: thrusting free enterprise, passion and opportunism wrapped around an event of gargantuan ambition that teetered between hubris and triumph.
The sight of the convention delegates thrusting their banners skywards ("Change", "Hillary", "McCain the Same"), barking like Pavlov's dogs at mention of the phrase "Yes we can!" would once have triggered mention of Nuremberg rallies, but fortunately recent history offers us new metaphors. This was the Beijing Olympics again, shorn of the underage gymnasts.