The Unexpected Present

Nor’Easter 2010 / Kinderhook Revival

kinderhook News Clip

The recent Nor’Easter reminded us of the Nor’Easter 2010, rocking New Jersey back then. The storm rocked New Jersey into a state of emergency. It was historic and affected the U.S. East Coast on March 13-14, 2010, as a slow-moving cyclone, a storm that moved north along the Atlantic Coast. New Jersey was hit hard. Light rain began to fall in the late morning on Friday, spreading across the State. Steady, heavier rain developed on Saturday morning, and by Saturday afternoon, after days of everything getting soaked, the big Nor’Easter of 2010 hit. It continued into the night. Most people hunkered down and stayed home that weekend. Not the 400 fans who came out to see another historic event, the Kinderhook reunion show at the Ukrainian Cultural Center (UCCNJ) in Whippany.

It was a couple of months earlier when Yuri and I were approached by the UCCNJ manager, Mark, who was impressed with the fundraising turnout the previous year. Yuri brought it to the rest of the band, cajoled out of retirement and into rehearsals for another performance, opening it to the general public and diehard fans. This time, they would open for the New Riders of the Purple Sage (NRPS). It was an experiment in “Can they bring back the magic from singing harmonies? Do their original songs still hold up? Will their playing be as good as it was back in the day, and how long can it last? Tickets sold out. Then the storm hit.

The mega-storm produced hurricane-force wind gusts, high surges, a storm surge, and heavy rainfall with power outages due to downed trees and wires. Strong winds gusted 50-60 mph in most areas and up to 70 mph in spots, wreaking the most havoc statewide, uprooting trees onto roads, cars, houses, and power lines, causing widespread power outages. Parts of the New Jersey Turnpike were forced to close, a near complete shutdown of the NJ Transit system. PSE&G reported nearly half a million customers lost power during the height of the storm on Saturday, making it the worst in the utility’s history—bands of heavy rain and scattered thunderstorms on Sunday, March 14, 2010. New Jersey was particularly hard hit with flooding and wind damage, and a state of emergency was declared as a result.

Yuri spent Saturday night in shorts and rainboots, protecting his homestead with plastic coverings outside the foundation and bailing out his basement and music studio. It was an all-night affair, and when he arrived on time for the sound check, we found that NRPS held to their agreement that they “owned the stage,” which meant they could not move anything and wouldn’t let them change any settings on their boards to accommodate Kinderhook’s sound. Yuri saved the day by driving back to his studio and returning with his Bose L1 P/A system that was strategically placed among the NRPS setup.

Their incredible soundman, Satch, whose intensity was only matched by the flawless integrity of the audio filling the room, was able to connect to the Bose and worked the board to the max. This made time for the Meet & Greet that Yuri and I organized at a local tavern for the exuberant fans who showed up from across the country, landing smack in the middle of a Nor’Easter. Last-minute ticket buyers arrived undaunted, exchanging the routes to avoid because of fallen trees and downed wires. They lined up along the wall snaking through the hallways the way they did online for buying tickets at the Capitol Theatre. Four hundred ticketholders.

While NRPS demanded the show start on time, Yuri stepped up on stage and, along with Kinderhook band members, all agreed, stating that they would only begin the show once everyone was seated. That day, I witnessed performance upstandingness, dedication, and appreciation to their long-time fans. It was very much appreciated. That’s why they were a great band to start the night.

A lot went into it to make it a successful stage show that only Kinderhook can put out. With friends, music from back in the day, the places that no longer exist, the times of multi-part harmonies and refrains, and the words that are recited from memory. Beer was sold out. Someone took the setlist. It was a great night.

 

The Kinderhook experiment was a success. Yuri and I produced three more successful shows at the Headliner in Neptune, McCloone’s, and Stone Pony in Asbury Park. 
The band is still around without Yuri but “rocking New Jersey again” (a tagline I came up with that they still use today). Asked when and how their resurgence came about, there’s a bit of head scratching and a shrug, “I don’t know. It just happened.”

It happened because Yuri took the lead in getting the gig, coming to every rehearsal, and practicing– singing and playing. I handled all the marketing and promotion, publicity, PR, writing and music critics, poster design, and advertising. Interviews and photo shoots, videotaping rehearsals, creating short trailers and ads, T-shirt design and sales, starting a FaceBook page and posting regularly, website design, and protecting their trademark.

Kinderhook got the reboot they needed thirteen years ago. We got the boot, but hey, we wish them well. These boots are made for walking, and we’re taking the road less traveled.

 

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