La Lune

Mid-October, 2000. We were months past the dreaded Y2K changeover from 1999 to 2000. I was into the second year of my first government job, taking on new tasks and roles, trying to earn permanent placement, which wouldn’t happen for nearly two more years, and not long before a new, enticing and permanent position came up in another organization. And while my former partner had lost her dad, and quite young, my family-of-origin was, so far, immune from that. Not for long.

Sweety and I, and a couple of friends — I’ve mentioned them before — would often watch/listen to Rod Stewart and Cyndi Lauper. The couple introduced us to Sarah Brightman’s music, something else we enjoyed together. So when the singer announced her world tour for the CD, La Luna, we bought tickets to see the October 17, 2000 show at the newly-built Xcel Energy Centre in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.

I still remember the drive down from Winnipeg, Canada to Minneapolis-St. Paul along the I-94 interstate highway. We sang along to Brightman albums and watched the autumn colours go by. In particular, I recall the beauty of vast, golden fields of feed corn. 

As I’ve mentioned before, the man in that couple of friends died three years ago. But on the day of the concert, he was in fine form. He spent hours trying to get in touch with Brightman’s management and crew, driven by the idea of sweet-talking someone into letting us into a backstage meet-up with Sarah. I don’t remember how he made contact, but he actually was speaking with someone on her crew, though alas, we never did get backstage. We laughed about the memory for years.

That evening, just before leaving our hotel for the show, I phoned my parents. My dad had been ill and was going through tests to determine what was wrong. They had gotten results that day, and while we’d agreed I wouldn’t call to find out while we were away, I was anxious to know. The diagnosis was not good, not horrific, but not what we were hoping for. (Options were later presented and accepted, and treatment proceeded. I visited Dad and Mum in November and I can still picture him at the end of our time together, smiling and waving as we said our farewells at the airport. That was the last time I saw him alive. Something about me knew to capture that moment in my deep memory. A little over two months after that, he was dead.)

I’d say I was in a state of mild shock during the concert. I truly enjoyed the show, but felt very emotional at times, weeping in the dark of he concert hall. Much of the music was evocative, and the concert had a somewhat dark and foreboding mood to it, or at least I found it that way.

“La Lune” is the first track to in concert and on the CD; as the show opener it builds slowly, and the synthesizer chords wrap around recordings of radio chatter from the Apollo moon-landing missions, the chatter reaching its peak with the famous Neil Armstrong quote,” That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” The sung part of the piece is brief, so musically, there isn’t an awful lot happening in the song. You’d remember it if you were at a show on that tour, though. To me, it feels like it links last night’s experience of the Moon, memories of the 2000 show, and the timeless practice of humanity gazing up to the heavens in wonder. 

By the way, as mentioned in yesterday’s post, Sweety and I did drive south of the city last night to watch the rising of the Sturgeon Moon. We drove to La Barriere Park, where we stopped and walked to the bank of the La Salle River, a peaceful spot where we’ve sat before and watched the slow-moving current.

The La Salle River, looking north from a footbridge in La Barriere Park, Manitoba, Canada. Photo © Steve West.

As the Moon hadn’t risen yet, we drove a little further south where the road climbs onto a dike. The Moon appeared about an hour later than we’d expected; maybe the website was quoting the local times without correcting for Daylight Savings Time.

Last night was one of those rare occasions when it would have been good to have a proper camera; most times, the iPhone suffices, but it cannot capture distant objects in the same perspective with which we see them. (I found a web page with a photo that closely resembles what we saw last evening.)

Watching the Moon last night, we both remarked that we could see a face in it. Sweety wondered how our ancient ancestors would have received such a sight, and sitting in the quiet in the orange moon-glow, it was clear to us how insignificant, yet significant we all are in creation. It was a wonderful time to sit in silence and awe at the living universe and all those who have gone before us.

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s the official audio for the song from Sarah Brightman’s YouTube channel:

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