Live Sound Slammed By Sandy

By Clive Young. Hurricane Sandy may have been reclassified as a Superstorm on Monday, but to the pro audio industry, it was only one thing: A nightmare. While Sandy caused billions of dollars of damage during its trip up the East Coast, tours and sound reinforcement providers across the region are now scrambling to get back up to speed, despite the obstacles thrown in their way.
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Jones Beach Amphitheater in Wantagh, NY, on the coast of Long Island was underwater as of noon on Tuesday. Photo via Newsday/Twitter.

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By Clive Young.

New York, NY (October 30, 2012)—Hurricane Sandy may have been reclassified as a Superstorm on Monday, but to the pro audio industry, it was only one thing: A nightmare. While Sandy caused billions of dollars of damage during its trip up the East Coast, tours and sound reinforcement providers across the region are now scrambling to get back up to speed, despite the obstacles thrown in their way.

Key among those issues is power—or the lack thereof. Much of New York City remains without electricity, as does 90 percent of nearby Long Island, affecting numerous events and tours throughout the region.

Smashing Pumpkins were due to play the new Barclays Arena in Brooklyn on Halloween, but that tour has been sidelined by the weather. “We made it into Brooklyn yesterday morning from Montreal and were in lockdown at the Sheraton in Brooklyn,” said Jon Lemon, FOH engineer for the tour. “The hotel is packed, but they managed to feed everyone from a buffet over the course of the evening. [Now] a few of the street sellers are out and a couple of restaurants are open for lunch today and there's a bit more traffic on the streets.

“We were coming up to the last four shows on this leg of the tour, but it looks like we're postponing until December now," Lemon added. "I heard this morning that there's some water issues at Barclays, something to do with bad drainage.” For now, reports of damage at the new arena remain unconfirmed, but the NBA is weighing whether it will—or can—go ahead with the season-opening game of the Brooklyn Nets this Friday night.

Further east of Brooklyn, out on Long Island, Joe Light of RSA Audio Services (Edgewood, NY) reported that his sound reinforcement company never lost power during the storm. That wasn’t the case, however, with a number of facilities where the company was scheduled to work this week, as it saw three shows at the Beacon Theater—two with Brandi Carlile and a benefit show, Freedom To Love Now—get postponed. Meanwhile, a breast cancer event at the Waldorf-Astoria, and gear rentals at Carnegie Hall and the Best Buy Theater, were cancelled. “I don’t know what is going happen for the rest of the week,” said Light. “On Friday, I have a event at Madison Square Garden for the Knicks’ season-opening game, and events at the Roseland and Hammerstein Ballrooms this coming weekend; I guess they depend on the subway and power situation in NYC.”

Not all festivities in New York City were put off to another day, however. “We are doing a Halloween Party on Wall Street tomorrow night, so you tell me, how bad can it be?” joked Jack Boessneck of national tour audio provider Eighth Day Sound (Highland Heights, OH). “People from New York City have got to be tough; I’m complaining about rain and folks there refuse to cancel a party because of 80 mph winds! One tour is shifting shows around by postponing Philly and New York and scheduling later, but that’s about it. The worst thing I’ve heard about is air travel because of the planes not being where they should be.”