Neutral Milk Hotel — Last Time Around

main-tour NMH

“dear friends we love you but it’s time to say goodbye for the never ending now to announce that spring 2015 will be our last tour for the foreseeable future and so we extend our deepest gratitude to all the beautiful people who came to see us over the last year…..”
—from the Neutral Milk Hotel web site

For me, Neutral Milk Hotel’s 1998 In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Jeff Mangum’s meditation on life, death, re-birth, and the “endless endless,” towers over all the other albums released in the last 25 years or so.   I was fortunate enough to see Mangum in concert at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington when he emerged from his self-imposed quiet decade.  He was outgoing, generous, and brilliant that night, opening the set with the cathartic  “Two-Headed Boy Part 2” and the  shattering “Holland, 1945.”  It was the best concert I’ve been to in years.

If the current tour really is the last time around…well, all good things, I suppose.  And we still have the music.

“And now we ride the circus wheel
With our dark brother wrapped in white
Says it was good to be alive
But now he rides a comet’s flame
And won’t be coming back again

The earth looks better from a star
That’s right above from where you are
He didn’t mean to make you cry
With sparks that ring and bullets fly
On empty rings around your heart
The world just screams and falls apart”

—from “Holland, 1945”

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