By Clive Young.
New York, NY (November 2, 2012)—In the days leading up to Hurricane Sandy, sound reinforcement companies along the East Coast scrambled to prepare, so that their crews and gear would be safe. Now in the aftermath, they face another predicament. “We were lucky enough to keep power and it doesn’t matter because we have no venues to go to,” said Joe Grasso, managing owner of ACIR Professional, based in Egg Harbor Township, NJ.
“We’ve probably lost 15 shows in Atlantic City alone due to all this; I got guys in the shop, sitting on their thumbs,” he remarked. “We had a couple of employees who had to take the week off to clean up their houses, who live closer to the shore, but everyone’s safe, no one got hurt. That’s what matters. We’ve lost at least 20 shows because of the storm—everything’s cancelled. I imagine that a week out, it’ll still be like the day after a normal hurricane. I have an Ultimate Fighting Show at Borgata—that’s the only one that hasn’t cancelled. [UFC has since cancelled] Then we had three shows at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, NJ that cancelled—a Steve Martin show and two other theater-produced shows.”
It’s a similar story up in New York for Long Island-based RSA Audio (Edgewood, NY); set back by cancelled events in Manhattan at the Roseland Ballroom and five shows at the Beacon Theatre this week, the company was looking forward to starting up again with a Citizen Cope concert at the Beacon on Saturday night; that show has since been postponed to November 24.
Of course, key to whether any show in New York City will be held at the moment is the ability for the audience to actually get to it. Subways are still only running in certain parts of the city, and at this writing, power remains down for everything below midtown in Manhattan.
Back in Atlantic City, however, no one has been allowed to go there, period. At 10 AM Friday morning, Governor Chris Christie finally lifted the mandatory evacuation order on the city, and Grasso planned to head in quickly, if only to rescue equipment.
“I still have gear in Atlantic City that I have to get out,” he explained. “Last weekend, a lot of Sunday shows were cancelled because it was too close to the hurricane, but all the Saturday night shows happened. I put extra guys on Saturday night to pick all the stuff up, but there were still one or two shows that were left behind, where the guys said, ‘We’re going to get out of here and we’ll get it Monday or Tuesday when we come back in after the hurricane.’ Well nobody knew it was going to be like this. Luckily, it's little stuff—mostly backline.”
Venues throughout the storm-affected region were hit to varying degrees. While the famed Stone Pony nightclub survived Sandy without incident in Asbury Park, NJ, the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, NJ—a historical landmark built in the 1800s—sustained considerable damage and lost part of its roof. Further up North, on Long Island, the Nikon at Jones Beach Amphitheatre in Wantagh, NY, which sits right on the shore, was underwater for much of the storm.
JONES BEACH AMPHITHEATRE FOOTAGE—SCROLL FORWARD TO 4:45.
RSA Audio Services