Unlike in 2008, when more than 200,000 people gathered in Grant Park to celebrate then-Senator Obama's election, this year's victory rally was by invitation only—open mostly to campaign staffers and volunteers. If you weren't one of the few thousands chosen to attend, here's a behind-the-scenes look at the biggest party in Chicago on Tuesday night—including Rahm, Will.i.am, and the newly re-elected president himself.

MORE ELECTION COVERAGE: Playlist of tunes from the rally | A photographer's timeline | Our GChat recap of the evening | Journalism in the age of Nate Silver and big data | Obama support among Latinos, Muslims | Green Eggs and Ham during soundcheck at McCormick


Photography: Esther Kang