Thursday, March 03, 2005

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.


Anonymous said...

What a fitting tribute, Max! Thank You

patrick said...

Dear Max: wonderful post! Captures many of my own bittersweet memories. I suppose now we can dream of spending a sunny afternoon in the Bronx and a night of Dean & Britta (or Sean's next project) at some club downtown this summer. Take care, it was great meeting you. Best regards, Patrick.

Anonymous said...

You are very eloquent and I really enjoyed your story. You captured a lot of my fondest memories from the weekend. I will miss Luna, and I will miss you too. You have a great energy about you, and the people around you can feel it. Thank you for the memories.

Felonious Noodle said...

Well said Max, and very well detailed. Should anyone want to see a Yankee game, let me know.. It's rather unfortunate I'm a Mets Fan...

The Rat said...

Max: Sorry I missed you at the Magician on Sat. night. I was in the front with several other faithful. It seems that we have all shared the same emotions and it's funny that not all of us hooked up collectively to toast, cry and enjoy what this band has meant to us. Good descriptive piece - you can almost smell the BB when you read it!