Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Great picture...

Originally uploaded by humblebipedhiker.
...anyone care to have a shot at a caption for this one.

Monday, March 07, 2005

One week on

Originally uploaded by grange85.
So here we are - a week into a world without Luna. Sure they were only a band - and despite everything there are still load and loads and loads and loads of great bands around making great music to fill our ears and hearts. But it doesn't mean that I can't miss them.

I started the web page over 10 years ago (can't be sure exactly when) - and the mailing list kicked off on the 4th or 5th July 1995. That's a great chunk of my life spent following Luna's every move. That's a great number of friends I've met (both in Lunaspace and in the "real" world). That's 10 years of being in the company of people whose recommendations I trust enough that I needed to follow up on every one.

The first list member I met in the flesh was a guy by the name of Trenton (I think) at a Luna show in December 1995 and since then I have met people who I'd like to think were my friends (or at least my imagination allows me to think of them as friends). Hopefully with the common ground we've established over the years I'll be able to keep these relationships going. [I've long since lost touch with Trenton although in my head he looks exactly like Vinny from Joy Zipper].

Not sure where this post is going but I think it may have arrived...

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Cha cha 2000

Cha Cha 2000 - Photo taken Monday afternoon in NYC by Paul

A telegram from Justin

During the last shows Dean read out a telegram that Justin had sent - below is the text of the telegram


Thursday, March 03, 2005

New Haven Comet all the Way to California

Reading all these lovely tales makes me want to just puke with regret about not flying the 10,000 miles back to NYC for my rightful share in the experience. All moot now, so I shan't simper. I have often been geographically challenged when it comes to bands' tours, especially in the lengthy stints I've done in Santa Fe and Missoula. I'm fine with that. But, I remember Mark Sandman (Morphine) being so flabberghasted on stage that their first (and sadly last) ever show in Albuquerque was sold out. Got me to thinking though ...there's 19 states (well, I'm 95% sure of that figure) in which LUNA never played a single show (only a handful which are justifiable):

South Carolina
West Virginia
New Hampshire

Of this list, I'd say only 6 or 7 states are excusably missed (even though in NE, it's easy to go interstate for shows). Sure, bands like LUNA (whom never were 'ye olde flavour of the monthe') must go where the fanbases are - but if you can play a gig in Indianapolis, Burlington, VT, Tallahassee, or Cloumbia, MO - you can be certain a turn out in Oxford, MS, Salt Lake City or Boise would be in equal or greater numbers. Yes, yes - nobody's going to get wealthy playing rock shows in Birmingham, AL ...and all bands need a paycheck. Just a pity LUNA was saddled with unenthusiastic label support for 3/4 of their existence. I think everybody would agree that LUNA's appeal could have reached a far wider audience had they some better luck on the biz end of things.

Here's looking forward to the documentary....

I'm telling you that I'll miss you

thought after I bought tickets to the Sunday matinee that it mightbe overkill. I knew I wanted to be at all the shows and Luna always leaves me craving more, I never could get enough. I ended up gladthat I did.

Kathy and I got into New York on Saturday afternoon and went out to dinner with our friends Tim and Stephanie. We were all excited about the show and couldn't wait to get to the Magician bar to see the other Luna fans who would be there. When we arrived, there were Jen, Patrick and RJ and a host of others. Jen was proudly showing off her limited edition final shows poster and telling tales of attending the soundcheck...yes I think we were all jealous but that's cool. Todd Barry was at the bar and my wife said hello to him and that we are huge fans of his. She asked what he was up to, she meant career wise,he thought she meant at the moment. He replied with great enthusiasm that he was going to the Luna show. My favorite comedian shares one of my favorite bands, nice to know he has great taste.

After a couple of Guinnesses, we gathered in a pack with Luna's documantarian Matt. We walked the few blocks to the Bowery Ballroom while I talked Yankee baseball with Patrick and wished that that was really what was on my mind. What was really on my mind was that the end of an era of my life was looming; the Luna crowd was a social scene in which I had become immersed and it was on the verge ofending. While I know that I'll see the other Luna fans at certain shows, a Dean and Britta show, a Sean show or other assorted bands, I know that it will become fractured with the split and some people won't be interested in it all. I will miss the gang as much as I miss the music.

Before we got in line for the door, Matt interviewed us. First was Jen, who really put a lot of thought into her interview and I thought did a great job. Jen spoke about Sean's pantless romp on the stage at Maxwell's, which is what I wanted to talk about. I also added a thing or two about the horror of Sean's blue briefs. I don't have much of a memory as far as what else I spoke about. I think that if you could put subtitles under me speaking, it would just say something like 'sob, sob, no more Luna. sob, sob', at least that was my emotion ifnot my verbal expression. I do know that I said that Luna's music was soothing; I regret that because it sounds like faint praise. What I really meant was that it gives me a pleasant feeling, almost like adrug or a good drink takes the edge off ('Luna: File under brain lubricant'). Their music always sounded so mellow, but if you listen closely, there is so much going on in it... they make it sound so easy.

When we got into the Bowery Ballroom, I felt uneasy but happy to be there. Although I was sad about the breakup, I was also really looking forward to the shows. I have been down about a seriously ill friend and was happy to be celebrating Luna during their final shows. I was also looking psyched to see The Hong Kong, whom I first saw opening for Luna the day after the pantless show.

As The Hong Kong rocked the Bowery with their new wave-tinged pop, I got even more amped up for Luna. I couldn't help but think that this show was a paradox, with Luna retiring, they're going down, and TheHong Kong, with their first full length, on their way up.

After the stage setup, it was now it was time for Luna. Entry music was The Big Ship by Brian Eno, a personal favorite of mine. The crowd roared with approval when Luna took the stage, it just all felt so warm. I thought Luna looked a little sad or perhaps tired when they started. Sadness was understandable and Dean explained that they had had a long van ride home from the Midwest, so perhaps tiredness played into it as well. They opened with Fuzzy Wuzzy, which is usually a song they play late in shows. After a few songs they seemed to perk up.Their playing belied their demeanor from the start, they were on like I had never seen them. The playing was crisp and energetic, and the vocals were just perfect. I am used to a high standard with this band and my high expectations were exceeded. It was also great to see Lara playing with the band again. I left the show that night thrilled with what I had seen and anxious about going to two shows the following day.

The next day Kathy and I went to the show without our hosts. When weg ot there, we saw Jen and East Coast Andy. We all thought it felt really odd seeing the band play in the afternoon, I don't think I have ever been to an afternoon show by any band. The Joy Zipper opened andto tell the truth I wasn't all that impressed. Jen said she thought perhaps it was the odd daytime vibe that was throwing it off. I was concerned that the same weird vibe would throw Luna off. After Luna took the stage we found out, it didn't affect them one iota. Just as the night before, they fired on all cylinders. They had Jane Scarpantoni playing cello on a few songs, it really sounded sharp.All the songs fell into place like some perfect musical jigsaw puzzle.Kathy had to leave at 5:00 PM to catch a bus home (she had jury duty the next day). Kathy's favorite Luna song is 23 Minutes in Brussels;what Luna song ended at 5:00 sharp? You guessed it, 23 Minutes, could this weekend go any better? I missed having Kathy there, but the rest of the show just chugged along so well, I was floating on air. As Britta left the stage, she lit a lighter and held it up, now that was funny.

In between shows, I went to the 12" Bar, which was the chosen spot for hanging out. It took a while for others to show up, but they did eventually. It was a nice place with a really cool bartender. After awhile, it was time to head back to the Bowery and we gathered up the troops and hit the sidewalk.

The evening show picked up where the afternoon left off. The Joy Zipper really did come off better in the nightime, Jen called it right on. Luna? They held up the standard of the previous two shows. Theydidn't repeat more than a handful of songs between these three shows,and that was nice for those of us going to all four. I was hopeful for a greatest hits-type show for the upcoming final show; the more obscure songs are cool, but who would not want to see Luna go out with their strongest material? I left the Bowery that night thrilled but with also with an impending sense of loss.

The night of the final show, I was with Tim and our mutual friend Ken.We hit the Magician to check in with the rest of the 'Lunatics' and then went off for some Mexican food before the show. We talked about all sorts of stuff but again I think my subtitles were 'sob, sob, no more Luna.' We then left the restaurant and trudged through the snow on our way to the show; the snow was a nice distraction. The final show is kind of a blur to me; Dean asking Jen not to cry, Andy hugging Jen to comfort her, Daisy bopping in a wild fashion creation, Britta standing between Sean and Dean to soak up that sublime chemistry,Franck snapping away in front of Britta at the edge of the stage, and Sean wiping sweat off his brow with some rather large I Love You Sean panties. The crowd looked elated yet simultaneously stunned at everything, soaking it in, loving it and yet dreading that the end was near. Dean fittingly brought out some champagne at the encore and poured it out for the band. It did indeed feel like a bittersweet celebration of a great era, I think we could all almost taste it as they drank it. It was the greatest hits show I had hoped for. They closed with 23 Minutes in Brussels and the words "Say a prayer for me,tell me will you miss me?"; in a word, yes. I want to thank Luna for giving me and their other fans so much joy and for telling us this was the end. The knowledge it was the last tour let us have the opportunity to share our love of their music with them and to tell them we were all so grateful for having had them, we are all the richer for it and they will be missed.

I'll miss them when they hit that groove

Photos: Franck
I was walking home this afternoon listening to Luna Live (again!) and 23 minutes came on and I suddenly felt really sad that I (probably) will never see Dean and Sean get into that groove the way they do during that song. Britta mentioned that she had stood between them at the last show just to get the best out of it.

It reminded me that I took a couple of minutes of video at the London show. When I got home and showed it to Hazel she said "it's a shame you didn't get any singing" - I didn't want singing! There'll be lots of video of Dean singing - and he isn't going to stop singing yet either. But I may never be able to experience this again...and while 150 seconds of crappy video isn't going to satisfy me it'lll do to remind me just how flipping great it was when these two got into that groove...

Seventeen dreams for you...

Here's a file to add some happiness to these hollow days. A lovely rendition of a song which marked one of the most memorable moments from Monday night. As an added bonus, we get a sincere smile from Dean (which we were lucky to get lots of on Monday, also):

Moon Palace on Midnight Minute

Makes me tingle. I have to watch it at least twice each time.

Someone posted elsewhere that this past weekend was like the end of a really good book. That really sums up my experience perfectly. So excited to get to the last page, so satisfied in the final moments by how wonderfully it ended, and so empty in the days following... only to be filled in spurts by brief happy memories of something you now know completely.


Sunday night as we listened to The Big Ship by Brian Eno

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A lovely Sunday afternoon with Luna

My wife and I drove from Rhode Island to see the early show, so that we could go home earlies (to our kids). It was a beautiful show.
It brought back memories of the first time we saw (and met) the Luna folks in a dinky club in Providence, RI called Baby Head. This was in 1992. That concert, and subsequent ones marked the start of an era for us, to borrow a term that many have used here; it began the Luna soundtrack-to-our-lives. A period that I look back at very fondly.
I will most definitely miss seeing Luna play as they came by these parts almost every time they released an album. I look forward to hearing what each and everyone of these talented individuals will come up with next, as I am sure they all will.
Best of luck, thanks for all the good melodies and memories.
(Funny, as I am writing this I am listening to the first album, and track 10 just came on, aptly called Time to quit).
I will try to post an image and short QuickTime later on.

The best things about not being there...

<clutching object="straws">
  • People can actually imagine how charismatic and urbane I would have been if I'd managed to make it over.
  • I would have cried in front of too many new friends
  • I would have moaned too much about lack of sleep
  • I'd have probably been stranded at JFK airport for six hours on the way home (again!)
So it's probably for the best!

some bloggers who love Luna

I rarely go a day without reading the always excellent Chromewaves - I guess I first went there because Frank is a Luna fan - but I keep going back because it's one of the best blogs out there...

Other blogs with bits about the end of Luna...
Savage Distortion: Alas poor Luna...
Rags' Soapbox: More on Luna's Last Show
Scott Heiferman`s Daily Fotolog

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Monday night show pictures

Here is a gallery of pictures from the final Luna show. I left them in chronological order, maybe they can reflect a little of the story of this magical night ...

Britta sent an email today in which she had written "I feel good today.....teared up a few times last night....Bewitched, 23 Minutes....when I sandwiched myself between Sean and Dean's amps so I could really hear their delicious interplay and Sean's excellent solos...."
Wasn't it that moment ?

All is Forgiven, I Love You Still.

9:30, still at work, at the end of my wits and desperate for distraction- so here it goes. I'll first just post a clip of my early morning, off the cuffish email to the list, as I think it has clarity in its simplicity

"The set list speaks for itself. Britta had mentioned that Dean spent a lot of time thinking about the final list- and it shows. He seemed to pick the perfect line up, spacing out the tear jerkers and the rockers perfectly so that as I recovered from bawling, I had to start up again.
Everything was played with such precision, and the solos where as shattering and beautiful as you'd imagine. Britta was a rock- for lack of better description- both as a bassist that night, and emotionally- it seemed she anchored Dean.

I had no idea that i'd be as emotional as I was- perhaps the cocktail of exboyfriends, exhaustion and seeing 13 years culminate with such beauty and perfection broke whatever constitution I had. Truth told, since embracing my inner romantic rather than fronting the epic stoicism of my youth, I tear up at notions.

I tried not to cry, but just as i'd get a grip, they'd perfect a note, or sing a lyric that in its passing would escalate the choking in the back of my throat.
It's hard to describe the night- every song was a standout, and every moment was special. I can't even voice how touched I am that Dean gave me his lucky kazoo. That just plain rocks.

It was a night I'll not forget, and hold dear forever."

I suppose I can bore everyone by stringing together a thesaurus full of entries on "perfection". That's what it was, a perfect end to their collaboration. They honored themselves, their songs, and their fans. As Britta stated, you really could "feel the love" in the crowd. Everytime East Coast Andy glanced at me to gauge my tears (quite sensitive a barometer, they), When I'd turn my head towards Chris, Pat or Max in our silent acknowledgement of "Wow", it was inspiring to be part of such collective (and united) consciousness. Also, relieving in a sense to be a girl and thus allowed to weep irrationally in public.

I can't begin to tally my official "count" of Luna shows, though since 2000ish I've hardly missed a DC/NY show (and traveled as often as possible- who knew Luna could provide an excuse for vacation and keeping touch with friends). Chatting pre-show with faces that became friends will also remain one of my favorite memories. Chatting with the band, Sean kindly offering me a party pass, Britta letting me stop by soundcheck (and getting to see everyone enjoy the tasty cupcakes), conversing with Lee (who is indeed friendly, just shy), and most incredibly, being extended Dean's trusty kazoo- are all gestures and experiences that will remain firmly etched in my mind, and solidly anchored in my heart.

There are too many musical highlights to name- and those will be preserved by recording, but in parting here are a few more personal moments I can share:

1) Dean, shading his eyes from the sun (!) and pointing to his young son, who was enjoying the show with the abandon and awe that was such a wonderful testament to the love between a father and son.

2) Britta stepping between Sean and Dean during the final 23minutes- as she said herself- to better last experience what I can only describe as the ultimate display of the chemistry between Sean and Dean.

3) Seeing Lee tap the cymbals with his hands during the final Black Postcards.

4) The priceless look on Sean's face as he unraveled his "gift" of hugenormous granny panties.

5) Each and every moment when Dean and Britta caught my eye as I poured my tears of happiness and love, especially during the first chords of Moon Palace- which of course.. slayed me.

Dean got a little emotional, and had he full out cried- I do think the place would have been flooded.

What more to say?

Dean, Britta, Sean, Lee (Justin and Stanley too). I love you all.

And all your tears, they won't help you

Sad day, this first day of a post-Luna world.

Beautiful email from Britta. I wouldn't expect anything less from a Luna audience at the very moment of farewell. It doesn't sound like anyone in the band out-and-out cried. Dean threatened to several times over the past weeks. When I spoke to him in Tucson he seemed fairly certain he might. Was anyone close enough to see if there was at least a little shininess to his eyes?

I'm a girl so I have no problem admitting that I welled up a number of times at Club Congress in Tucson. I definitely brushed away tears after the last encore, before I had one last drink to take the edge off the sadness.

The interview I did is here. Pictures are by Nick, whose wonderful work is a little further down on this blog.

Some more photos from the weekend

photos: Brian Birzer: luna 27 feb 05

edited: oops I misread Brian's email and posted some pics from last month - still worth a visit mind.

Thanks Brian!

An email from Britta

I solicited contributions from the band and Britta sent this - I feel both proud and embarrassed to post it here.

Andy, thanks so much for the yummies, but especially thanks for all the loving care, time and attention you've put into your site and the mailing list.

Last night was a perfect ending. Quite beautiful. Its been an honor and a pleasure to have been a member of Luna for 5 years...the best thing that's ever happened to me, really. I'll miss playing with them...and I'll miss playing to all of the wonderful Luna fans...

Last night, I welled up a few times, but I was not sad, just very moved to be a part of something so meaningful to so many as well as something so personal to me. I'm really glad we decided to announce this as our final tour. It really made all of the shows very special.

I never thought I'd say something so sentimental/hippie-dippie, but the room was filled with love last night. So difficult to describe, but a few words come to mind: loaded (emotionally, not alcoholically), tender, safe, over-flowing, ebullient, intoxicating, warm, intimate, fun, sexy, thank you, miss you.

You WERE there.
emailed by Britta 2:53 PM


That's the way I would describe waiting for Luna to come on stage Saturday night. This point was hammered home by the angular silouette of Ric Ocasek standing in the balcony watching The Hong Kong open. (I think he is producing their album). Silouetted he looks circa 1985. Apparently Paulina was there as well. The song choices were excellent. Many I had not heard ever live or in a long time. Fuzzy Wuzzy, I Can't Wait stood out for me. The band as they have been doing most of this tour took longer than usual to get going. Soaking in the atmosphere for one of the final times.

Dean was much more chatty than usual. Lee actually smiled a few times. And Sean and Britta were like they always are.

Black Postcards a song I usually don't like was played both nights I was there and was amazing. As was 4000 days sunday night. (a song I don't like and amazing).

I liked the setlist sunday night more and I thought the band was much more relaxed. I was glad to finally see a Galaxy 500 song, 4th of July. As in the 10 shows I'd been to I never had.

Both nights the band came down to the bar and hung out after the show with fans.
I think it is finally sinking in for me.

Photos from Saturday by PabloChang

A bunch of lovely photos from Saturdays show
Pablo Chang

45 out of 50

Britta mentioned on the mailing list that Luna had "about 50 [songs] in rotation right now" - over the four shows this weekend Luna played the following 45 different songs...
23 Minutes In Brussels
Black Champagne
Black Postcards
Bobby Peru
Bonnie And Clyde
Broken Chair
California (All The Way)
Cindy Tastes of Barbecue
Egg Nog
Everybody's Talkin'
Four Thousand Days
Fourth of July
Freakin' And Peakin'
Friendly Advice
Fuzzy Wuzzy
Going Home
I Can't Wait
Indian Summer
Into The Fold
Lost In Space
Malibu Love Nest
Mermaid Eyes
Moon Palace
Pup Tent
Rhythm King
Sideshow By The Seashore
Slash Your Tires
Still At Home
Superfreaky Memories
Sweet Child O' Mine
The Slow Song
This Time Around
Tiger Lily
Time to Quit
Tracy I Love You
Weird And Woozy

Goodnight Luna

And so it is over.

I lie here, unable to sleep, instead tapping away on the laptop, needing to leave for the airport in one hour, feeling a bit of a hole where the soundtrack to my life lives.

Tonight's show was truly radiant. At one point (during Moon Palace) I realized that it was all about to end. A tear welled up as I snapped out of my musically blissful daze that had me wrapped up for most of the show, and I feared for the end.

Luna marked for me the beginning of my musical self. I hadn't even owned a CD player for more than 3 months when we were first introduced at a tiny club on California Avenue in Palo Alto, CA in 1992. I was so impressed (by Anesthesia, specifically) that I wrote my (first, brand new) email address on their little clipboard at the table. (Dean later told me that he lost that list somewhere in the depths of a damaged hard drive.) From that moment on, Lunapark formed the sounds of freshman year. All other personal musical exploration has been in that context. Luna is the gold standard, always amazing, just doing music right. And now, we all must move on without that shining example. (Why can't any other band be this good?!?)

Tonight was radiant. Tiger lily was a supreme treat, as was Everybody's Talkin'. I was asked at the start of the show what I really wanted to hear. I was at a loss to answer, but if I could have somehow instantly scanned every one of Luna's 115 songs (according to my trusty iPod), these two songs would easily have been at the top of my list. Wow. What a treat. Thank you, Luna, for putting together such a perfectly stellar setlist for the end.

This weekend has been a dream. Discovering New York, meeting other fans, and saying farewell. Being here, in this place, it all seems to fall together as I see where the music came from.

I found myself desperately trying to find little ways to remember these shows (flowers for Britta, passing around the poster, photos for everyone, making my own setlists in sharpie on the backs of plane ticket confirmations) but really, it's only important to say that I now know Luna better than ever before. Every lyric, every note, I hear more clearly and understand more perfectly. I think, perhaps, this retirement is good for us too...

As my plane takes off going all the way to California, I'll start with Sleeping Pill, and see where that takes me next.

Love to Luna, love to you all who are feeling the same as I.

Goodnight, beautiful snowy city.


Tell me do you miss me ...

It could not have been any better. There is too much to say and now is not the time.
Thanks to Lee, Sean, Dean and specially to Britta.
A few minutes ago, Dean was stepping into the cab going home ...

Luna 1992 - 2005

photo:Nick Tauro Jr

Luna's last waltz

I half jokingly said to Hazel I'd be up at 6 to see what went on...well here I am - up at 6. My glasses are upstairs and I can't go and get them because I'll wake Hazel - and she'll laugh at me and I don't really want to be laughed at...not now.

It's all over...they finished with "23 Minutes" - the song that has topped every Mailing List Survey since 1998, the song Luna has played more times than any other...I guess it couldn't have been anything else in retrospect.

The setlist is phenomenal...no Galaxie 500, nothing of Days...but look at it - I'd be hard pushed to put together a better 19 songs for the band to finish with...
  • Chinatown
  • Sideshow by the Seashore
  • Astronaut
  • California (All the Way)
  • Malibu Love Nest
  • Tiger Lily
  • Broken Chair
  • Friendly Advice
  • Bewitched
  • Tracy I Love You
  • Pup Tent
  • Time to Quit
  • Going Home
  • Moon Palace
  • Black Postcards
  • Everybody's Talkin'
  • Fuzzy Wuzzy
  • Indian Summer
  • 23 Minutes in Brussels

Thank you Dean, Sean, Lee and Britta (AND Justin and Stanley (and Matt) and Lara and any- (and every-) one who has had anything to do with making LUNA).

I was there you know.