Truth be told‚ I was searching the interwebs to see if any rumors were abound regarding Phish playing somewhere on Halloween. What I found was not what I was expecting‚ but certainly answered my question. Page McConnell was playing at B.B. King's Blues Club in NYC on Halloween with The Meter Men. No Phish show was confirmed along with my plans for Halloween.
I ordered tickets and got time off from work. I proceeded to hook up a sweet spot in Brooklyn to stay with a buddy for me‚ my lovely wife‚ and a good friend that would comprise team Vermont. We were seemingly too prepared and now had to wait‚ plans finalized‚ for over a month. This never happens -- neither does what followed.
Superstorm Sandy hit the east coast on Monday‚ October 29th. NYC got hit and hit bad. Millions without electricity‚ subways flooded‚ power transfer stations literally blew up‚ and chaos ensued. Having my house flooded the previous year from Hurricane Irene and having lost many personal belongings‚ as well as our entire water supply‚ I was bracing for the worst. Lucky for me‚ I was spared; the eastern seaboard‚ not so much.
What follows is no way lessens the serious impact the storm had on NYC or its millions of inhabitants‚ but instead is a story of triumph and perseverance. A theme I pray mirrors future events that will unfold in the subsequent days‚ weeks‚ and months after the disruption put upon the lives of millions by that bitch Sandy.

The drive to Brooklyn from Northern Vermont was like a dream. Though I thought I had teleported from the Montpelier exit on I-89 in Vermont to Melrose St. in Brooklyn‚ I was quickly reminded that I had taken a muscle relaxer for a tweaked neck and awoke in a stupor hours later. That lingering neck issue was like the plague‚ but I digress…
We arrived at my buddy's apartment late afternoon‚ found a parking spot on his block‚ went upstairs to drop off our gear and popped some celebratory beers. Still four hours from show time‚ we proceed to go up to the roof to get loose and enjoy an unobstructed view of the city. This was the first time Sandy presented herself to us in any palpable way. A very distinct and depressed skyline appeared before us. There was a horizontal break across the city separating the haves and have-nots‚ the light from the darkness‚ the powerful from the powerless. We spent the next hour discussing how lucky our buddy was and how this is one of the most amazing circumstances we've witnessed. This was history before our very eyes‚ but we could not feel it. Sure we would encounter it time and again over the next several days‚ but I cannot say we honestly felt it like so many whose lives were turned upside down. We saw it‚ discussed it with locals‚ and even put ourselves into the middle of it‚ but how could we feel it?
Having been told they often arrive before you can make it downstairs‚ we waited until seven to call the car service. We figured with an eight o'clock show that seven fifteen was plenty of time. We called‚ the car arrived promptly

"West 42nd street‚ between seventh and eighth‚" says our friend as we piled into the back.
"Manhattan?" the driver asked.
"Yeah‚ Times Square‚ B.B. King's Blues Club‚" she reiterated.
The driver says‚ "No‚ no; can't go there. No one is going there."
Our faces drooped; we got warm and pinkish in the cheeks‚ nervous‚ confused. What about our needs‚ our plans? No matter how selfishly we pleaded our case‚ nothing was going to change this driver's mind. We got out of the car defeated and urgently began brainstorming. Can't walk‚ it is miles away and the show is in less than an hour. Yet‚ we knew the bridge was open. We had confirmation the show was going on as planned.
Still confused and thinking in the back of my mind that we were going to miss the show due to this single oversight‚ albeit a pretty big one‚ I typed 'car services' into my phone. The car service's main dispatch was just three blocks away…
As we arrived at the terminal there were two girls arguing with the dispatcher. It was Halloween and they were dressed like a couple of hookers; it was never confirmed if they were playing pretend or just getting off work. A driver approached asking who was waiting and we did not skip a beat. Jumping into the back with our nerves at their peak‚ we told the driver our destination and braced for his reply.
"Oooooh‚ they are charging like forty bucks tonight‚" he says.
As a chorus we reply‚ "No problem‚" and were off to the show! Man could we have been taken for a ride financially if this guy only knew our plight. Collectively we thought we were getting off easy paying double the normal rate. It wasn't until we were about halfway to our destination that we crossed that divisive break in the city; nothing but absolute darkness.
There were no street lights and what was the strangest sight to behold‚ no traffic lights to guide running vehicles‚ those still with gas and a motive‚ across four-way intersections. If there is ever a zombie apocalypse‚ I expect it to look like this. Other than shadowy glimpses down side streets of hipsters on bikes guided by the faintest of headlamps‚ destinations unknown‚ desolation was everywhere and the streets were eerily empty. Every so often we would see an odd window flicker amongst so many blackened facades‚ a laptop screen glowing from someone fortunate enough to find somewhere to juice up during the day. Then the other side of the wormhole‚ light was ahead‚ then the scene we all know all too well from the big screen. Time Square was lit up‚ but this night it seemed brighter than usual‚ standing not as a beacon of American pop culture‚ but less playful‚ almost malicious. An ego filled power starved fiend‚ taunting those just blocks away in the darkness‚ posturing in all its illuminated glory. So much of what its neighbors craved‚ so close‚ yet completely out of reach.
We tipped the driver like anyone visiting the city during this time should've. We were suddenly joyful‚ giddy even. We had arrived and we had not even missed the opening number. Coats checked‚ check; overpriced drinks in hand‚ check; about to get our funk on‚ check‚ check‚ and check!
The club was wider than it was deep and as Leo Nocentelli‚ Zigaboo Modeliste‚ and George Porter‚ Jr. made their way on stage the crowd took a step towards them‚ but it never seemed crowded‚ just well attended. As soon as a glimpse of Page McConnell appeared from backstage the crowd erupted. He was all smiles‚ mimicking the crowd‚ and made his way across the cramped stage to his Nord keyboard that stood at a 90-degree angle from the Hammond organ facing the audience‚ Leslie speaker tucked just behind. Page side‚ rage side was in full effect. This crowd was showing some signs! As soon as he sat down there was a barrage of memorabilia flashed before him that the crowd pressed Page to sign. He was gracious as he waded through the sea of assorted goods. Page grabbed a poster‚ unrolled it and held it up for all to see. It was of Page‚ who was now holding a picture of himself that he signed and handed back to the artist. While still hovering over his minions‚ the rest of the group began the intro to "Fire on the Bayou‚" but Page continued to sign away. Was Page going to start playing or just keep signing? Page answered by turning almost immediately and joined in with the group on the opening vamp. Oh no‚ they are dropping the funk on us New Orleans style! Enveloped in the journey and the sights of the city‚ I had almost forgotten we came to get our groove on and it… was… ON!
"Fire On The Bayou" flowed directly into "Funkify Your Life." One after another the Meter Men were putting NYC on notice. These legends were playing in an intimate setting and were inviting us to dance like no one was watching. We weren't at a party‚ we were the party. I don't care who you are‚ George Porter‚ Jr. is one funky man. His bass solo in "Cissy Strut" made me practically piss myself and at $10 a beer I had not imbibed much‚ I was just that excited. You know that expression you make when the funk is downright nasty‚ just stankin' up the place? Well my face must have looked like I just smelled a fart in an elevator. Remember that neck issue I had‚ the one that teleported me to Brooklyn? Well I didn't! I was getting down‚ along with every other body in the joint.