Guest blogger Frank Silvestry saw Luna's long awaited return to Philadelphia last night.
It's impossible to be objective about last nights Luna show. It's been eleven years since they last played in Philadelphia, ten since their final show, and Luna fans have been left with their beloved music and memories since. Last night Luna, reunited (for now), returned to an adoring crowd at the Trocadero. In this era of frequent reunion tours, its safe to say that it wasn't nostalgia that brought us back, simply their music.
Luna picked up exactly where they left off and reminded us why we were all there in the first place. Forgive the hyperbole but they were and are a truly incredible live band. Tighter and more joyful than ever, they played a greatest hits (to us) setlist of the highest points of most but not all of their studio albums.
The brilliance and beauty of Luna was on full display last night: Dean Wareham's lyrics and deadpan delivery were of course front and center, as was the interplay been his modal guitar explorations intertwined with Sean Eden's gorgeous understated Jazzmaster wrangling; not-so-secret weapon Britta Phillips weaving and grooving bass lines on her signature Fender P-Bass interlocking with Lee Wall's tight and massive drums. They sounded better and bigger than ever.
They opened with the location appropriate "Chinatown" (why didn't they always open with this at the Trocadero?) and played to an enraptured crowd for about 2 hours (see the set list). Many of the song lyrics took on amplified emotional meaning as, yes, we all wanted to tell them how much we missed them during "23 Minutes in Brussels", and that yes, something was indeed in the air during "Malibu Love Nest".
From the start the near capacity crowd roared with appreciation upon each song's close, knowing how much it meant to both band and audience to be there celebrating this music again. This was a rapturous return to the City of Brotherly love, which was clearly on display for the band. Intermittent choruses of various forms of adulation punctuated the night, as well as the calls for rarities and fan favorites. I was thrilled for the inclusion the stonsey, swaggering "Freakin' and Peakin'". An older looking woman standing next to me kept calling for "Slash your tires" and was later rewarded, as was the guy next to me who kept shouting for "23 Minutes in Brussels" knowing full well he would not leave without hearing it played.
The audience was simply overjoyed to be back, full of love for Luna, and thrilled to hear these songs played by this amazing band. It was clear that they were also basking in the glow of this love, and seemed to feed off the audiences rapt appreciation.
They closed with their increasingly meaningful cover of Beat Happening's "Indian Summer" - an indie rock cover staple but their version remains definitive, and reminded us about the impermanence of youth, love, music, and yes our favorite bands. And yes, we were all smiling just like we used to in the end.
(AHFOW: Thanks to Frank for this review - if you want to write a review of a show for A Head Full of Wishes please get in touch.)