FEBRUARY 2, 2002
At the Ameritania we planned to meet up with an old Chautauqua chum of mine, Paul LaPlaca. We arranged to meet at the "stealth bar" Bar 54. We grabbed some stools at the bar and I had a pint of some fine IPA. Mike had tea. It wasn't long before I had to run out the door of the bar to grab my friend. It really is a stealth bar. I warned Paul and he still missed it! We only had time for a short chat. Paul had a gig at 12:30 and had to split rather quickly. We made our goodbyes and I returned to my stool with my back to the bar. About 5 minutes later I felt the door open and people sit down at the bar behind me. I didn't think about it until I saw Mike's eyes get really big. I turned to look, but I didn't really think about it. I turned back to Mike. "I think that's James Brown", Mike said quietly. I waited a minute and looked again. Mike tried not to stare,"He just put a $100 bill on the bar for a drink." I took one more look. Well, he was small enough and had two really big guys, one on each side of him. The clincher was the big gold ribbon on his top hat. We stayed for another beer, hoping to catch the vibe of The Godfather himself. He looked tired(he just finished a show at the B. B. King Club down the street), and when we were pretty certain he wasn't going to hop onto the bar and scream "I feel good", we headed back to the lobby. The other hotel bar was full of the entourage, laminates were hanging from lots of necks. We stepped outside for confirming evidence.
We made our way into the bodega across the street from the hotel, picked up a few more green bottles and headed back to the room. We popped the Urinetown CD in the player and were soon reliving the best moments of the show. We didn't run out of energy until the CD ran out around 2:30.