My band, Audra & the Antidote, (http://theantidote.net/NMA.shtml was chosen as one of the 10 band out of 800+ to perform at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC as part of the first ever American Music Awards Presents the Coca-Cola New Music Award. The winner was to play on the American Music Awards Telecast. This was to be the kick-off event for CMJ with industry professionals in attendance including Dick Clark himself. This was to be our big break!
We were to leave Sept. 12 for NYC and already received our tickets and per diems. Anticipation and excitement had swelled to a fever and we could hardly wait for the day to come. Early the day before we were to leave I had an early morning shift at the coffee house. On the tip jar I had written something like…”wish us luck on our trip to NYC tomorrow!”. I was grinding coffee when I got a call from our guitarist. He had a flair for drama and was always threatening to quit at the most inopportune moments. I was sure that was what the phone call was about.
“Hello?” I said expecting him to quit.
“Audra, sit down.”
“What is it, Steve?” I said sounding annoyed.
“Terrorists have just attacked New York!”
“What? What are you talking about?” I was sure it was nothing and he was trying to stress me out as much as possible before our trip.
“A plane just flew into the World Trade Center!” I immediately thought about the plane that flew into the Empire State Building in the 30’s and was sure it was something similar.
“Steve, did they say it was terrorists?” trying to get to the bottom of his story.
“No, but it has to be!” Ok, I thought. Steve’s just being dramatic.
At that moment the other tower was hit. My stomach sank. I knew there was no way it could be an accident. We turned on the radio and customers kept coming in filling us in. Two commercial airliners: it was so hard to believe. I started thinking about our trip that was supposed to be the next day. What were we suppoed to do? Were we still supposed to go? I still couldn’t understand the immensity of the situation.
Not much later the pentagon was hit. The pentagon. That’s supposed to be our symbol of strength and impenetrability. Suddenly I felt vulnerable. If they could get the pentagon they could get anything or anyone, right? When the towers fell I started to cry. I was 800 miles away not knowing anyone in NYC but yet tears were falling from my eyes. My big break didn’t seem so important after all. All those lives…