Koterblog

The Big Apple Revisited

June 28th, 2011

Not a gig goes by when I don’t think about the night my band, Prairie Cats, performed at Windows on the World at the World Trade Center. Ten years ago this week, all eight members of the band, plus our road manager and “boy wrangler,” EmJay, squeezed into a van and deadheaded from Omaha to New York City where we would perform at some of the coolest venues we would ever encounter. We grabbed a few winks in Sandusky, Ohio, but otherwise, by the time we got to New York, we were going on no sleep for two days.

The first night, a Wednesday, we played an outdoor show at the Hudson River Festival at the base of the World Trade Center. After we unloaded our gear it was my job to park the van in one of the underground garages at the Trade Center. I recall the security guard eyeing me with suspicion, requesting to see my driver’s license. Ironically, the security booth reeked of marijuana.

jeff koterba, prairie cats, new york, world trade center, swing band, 9/11

Oh, the glamour of the road…

jeff koterba, prairie cats, new york, world trade center, swing band, 9/11

Here’s a photo from that show, the Statue of Liberty in the background.

jeff koterba, prairie cats, new york, world trade center, swing band, 9/11

And yes, in case you were wondering, that was the summer of my platinum blonde hair. Hey, we all make mistakes.

jeff koterba, prairie cats, new york, world trade center, swing band, 9/11

I’ll never forget gazing straight up from our vantage point on stage, the twin towers directly in front of, and above, us.

jeff koterba, prairie cats, new york, world trade center, swing band, 9/11

As the night went on, the view only got better…

jeff koterba, prairie cats, new york, world trade center, swing band, 9/11

The following night we performed at the Rodeo Bar—a roadhouse in the middle of the city. This isn’t the bar, but rather our luxurious band lounge area. Complete with peanut shells on the floor. Just like home. Left to right: Jeff Koterba, Erik Johnson, Josh Koterba, Craig Crilly.

jeff koterba, prairie cats, new york, world trade center, swing band, 9/11

It was a wild, leopard print kind of night. And to prove it, our drummer, Jeff Schoening, played the sticks on Larry Frederickson’s standup bass.

jeff koterba, prairie cats, new york, world trade center, swing band, 9/11

We used to do perform a French-ispired song, “Lover DuJour,” where we’d invite women from the audience to come on stage and play the role of our French backup singers. That explains the berets. The Krispy Kreme hat, however, I have no idea.

jeff koterba, prairie cats, new york, world trade center, swing band, 9/11

At least St. Elvis was watching over us. Or maybe he was having a staring contest with Larry. Not sure.

jeff koterba, prairie cats, new york, world trade center, swing band, 9/11

That’s Craig on the tenor sax. After the show, while we were loading our gear into the van, we elected Craig to deal with the very drunk guy harassing the band. Don’t mess with Craig, is what I’m saying.

jeff koterba, prairie cats, new york, world trade center, swing band, 9/11

One of my favorite photos of T-Bone player, Jason Grotelueschen. This, from our show at Jack’s Joint, Times Square.

jeff koterba, prairie cats, new york, world trade center, swing band, 9/11

No one wails on a trumpet like Kevin Linder.

jeff koterba, prairie cats, new york, world trade center, swing band, 9/11Setting up on Saturday night at the Greatest Bar on Earth, Windows on the World.

jeff koterba, prairie cats, new york, world trade center, swing band, 9/11

Our view from stage.

jeff koterba, prairie cats, new york, world trade center, swing band, 9/11

jeff koterba, prairie cats, new york, world trade center, swing band, 9/11

Dan Schoening’s turn to wail on the trumpet. Same berets, different “French” girls.

jeff koterba, prairie cats, new york, world trade center, swing band, 9/11

A little accordion action from Jason G.

jeff koterba, prairie cats, new york, world trade center, swing band, 9/11

I bought this window pane suit exclusively for this show. It’s a miracle suit. Since then, it’s been through Hell and still, ten years later, it looks new.

jeff koterba, prairie cats, new york, world trade center, swing band, 9/11

As far as I’m concerned, Windows on the World was, and is, the coolest place there ever was. In my mind, the Greatest Bar on Earth is still jumpin’, a decade later.

jeff koterba, prairie cats, new york, world trade center, swing band, 9/11
For more photos click here:Prairie Cats 2001 Tour.