Review: A Lunar Event
We arrived in Battery Park City at my friend's flat sometime around 4:30-5 p.m., just in time to beat the shadow winds that were starting to blanket the city following sunset. Not having eaten all day, we set out for the Amish Market, just a few blocks away, directly across the street from Battery Park. A few servings of Chicken w/ Pesto, a BBQ Chicken Sandwich with Swiss Cheese, Lettuce, and some other ingredients (very tasty), a few beers, and we were ready to head to the Bowery Ballroom. We hopped the 4 Train from Bowling Green to Brooklyn Bridge, then jumped onto the 6 train only to sit idle for some fifteen agonizing minutes while some Hispanic tourists took pictures on the platform. One foot inside the train, one foot outside the train, one guy posed for several shots, ignoring the several posted signs regarding the dangers of both standing in the doorway of the train and leaning against the train. Fortunately for him, he stepped away before the train began to move. Then as the train departed the platform, I noticed two Hispanic boys from the group karate kicking the train car, actually making contact with it as the parents laughed, and we headed into the tunnel.
Two stops later, we fled the subway to Spring Street at the corner of Lafayette. From that point, the ballroom was only a few blocks away. While walking down Spring Street, my girlfriend pointed out a liquor advertisement for Abisante that featured a likeness of Vincent Van Gogh in a Van Gogh style piece (she loves Van Gogh). I found it to be humorous since I had just taken, by invite, a bottle of Abisante from my grandparents on Thanksgiving Day that is approximately 20-30 years old.
After a laugh, we continued down Spring to the Bowery, made a right on Bowery to the corner, crossed over to Delancey St. and voila! We arrived at the ballroom around 8:45, about a half-hour or so after we left Battery Park. Maybe it was the gusty winds that slowed us down? Anyway, we slipped into the downstairs lounge for a few cocktails before the doors to the ballroom were set to open. Warren Zanes was scheduled to open at 10 p.m., and Luna to play at 11 p.m.
People began to file into the basement lounge, but it didn't ever become too crowded, unlike the June 30th Bowery Ballroom show, which was also the last date of the Romantica tour. There were a significant number of people crammed into the bar area during that show. This night was a bit different. In fact, once the doors opened to the upstairs ballroom, I ascended from the bowels to affix myself to a seat in the balcony overlooking Britta's side of the stage.
We sat (three of us) for some time listening to the Chrissie Hynde album echoing from the house system. To our envy, the first table on our side of the balcony was reserved. However, a man arrived at the table shortly after, told he was only going to be taping the opening band, Warren Zanes, and then he was to leave the table for us to cover with our glasses and ashes.
By the time Warren Zanes came on stage, the ballroom's balcony was filling up, but the downstairs remained about three-quarters empty. Warren Zanes began with some acoustic tracks and slowly picked up the pace as his set progressed. In between songs, Warren told some rather humorous anecdotes. Most of the crowd laughed at his short stories. After a rather long opening set, Warren bid adieu to the now swelling Luna crowd and disappeared backstage.
Following a short break, where people were aggressively seeking out their seating arrangements in the balcony, Luna came on to grand applause. Being on the brim of the Chinese section of the city, it was appropriate that they opened with Chinatown. I settled in to my area, just hoping that I wouldn't have to trek down two flights to the men's room in the basement. Following Chinatown, Dean blasted into 1995, which I think gave me a shot of testosterone because I slammed the rest of my beer. I was excited to hear Astronaut again, and thrilled to catch up with Bobby Peru, along with a little bit of Pup Tent, before seeing Dean & Britta's Mermaid Eyes - spectacular as always. Then Dean picked it up giving us their Friendly Advice, before jumping back into Romantica for Swedish Fish and Lovedust, everything sounding tight and sleek as always.
Now, this is where everything gets fuzzy (to be honest, everything for me got fuzzy about 40 minutes after I got to the ballroom), I noticed two guys downstairs, in the middle of the crowd, throwing themselves around, and into other people. I watched for a while, but eventually refocused on the stage. A few minutes later, I noticed one of the guys was propping his buddy up on his shoulders. Some people behind the two ruffians were becoming increasingly displeased with their behavior and began pointing fingers. Following a song, Sean made note of some dude going vertical. Dean then asked if everybody out in the crowd was ok. After that health check, the show went on, everybody was cool. The last three songs of the set took us up, down, and back to a crest (Time to Quit, Teenage Lightning, Black Postcards). Time to Quit was the highlight for me, being a Lunapark junky, like I am.
Probably the most confusing and spontaneous moment of the evening came when some guy accessed the stage behind Lara and proceeded to expose his ass for most everyone to see. The funny part is that the band didn't see it happen, actually leaving only a small number of the crowd, probably most with balcony seats, to witness the lunar event. At one other point a girl in the crowd asked for the John Lennon song, Jealous Guy, to which Sean promptly replied, "No Way."
I expected one encore, which could have sealed the deal for me, considering they came back out to give us a titanic Tugboat and followed up with a feverish 23 Minutes in Brussels (which kept me inches above the floor). Then I was surprised to get a second encore of California (All the Way) which I figured would show us to the door, until the frenzied crowd demanded a third encore. The band, after several minutes, obliged the Saturday night ballroomers with a quickened rendition of Bonnie and Clyde. Then with the last note played, they seemed pleased to be able to leave for the night, following back-to-back nights of providing such audio delights.
We descended to that basement bar for one more drink before venturing out to a pub near Union Square for more spirits. Fortunately for me, by this time, I no longer felt the cold wind.