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.
Oh, the glamour of the road…
Here’s a photo from that show, the Statue of Liberty in the background.
And yes, in case you were wondering, that was the summer of my platinum blonde hair. Hey, we all make mistakes.
I’ll never forget gazing straight up from our vantage point on stage, the twin towers directly in front of, and above, us.
As the night went on, the view only got better…
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.
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.
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.
At least St. Elvis was watching over us. Or maybe he was having a staring contest with Larry. Not sure.
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.
One of my favorite photos of T-Bone player, Jason Grotelueschen. This, from our show at Jack’s Joint, Times Square.
No one wails on a trumpet like Kevin Linder.
Setting up on Saturday night at the Greatest Bar on Earth, Windows on the World.
Our view from stage.
Dan Schoening’s turn to wail on the trumpet. Same berets, different “French” girls.
A little accordion action from Jason G.
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.
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.