Luna – The Tuning Fork September 19, 2015 (Concert Review)

Luna finally made it to Auckland for their first-ever NZ show. The reunited 1990’s dream-poppers are led by New Zealand native Dean Wareham, and on this night also featured original bass player Justin Harwood who resides in Piha.


The crowd arrived early to The Tuning Fork on this Saturday night. Maybe it was to get out of the rain, or perhaps it was to catch the opening set by Fazerdaze. The Auckland-based band is the brainchild of Amelia Murray who was fresh off a performance and the Vector Arena a few nights earlier as part of the Silver Scrolls show.

Amelia was accompanied by Goodshirt’s Gareth Thomas on bass, drummer Andrea Holmes (Fang) and Jonathan Pearce on guitar and keys. Sonically, they came across as a mix of The Breeders and The Sundays…quite appropriate considering the 90s vibe on the night. Their set was entrancing, easily holding the attention of the crowd.


Luna was formed by former Galaxie 500 member Dean Wareham in 1991 and split up in 2005. They ware best known for the handful of albums they released in the 90s, and tonight they stuck almost exclusively to that decade.

In addition to Wareham, the line-up features guitarist Sean Eden, drummer Lee Wall and Britta Phillips on bass and keys.

The quartet took the stage just after 9:30 and opened with California (All The Way) from their 1994 album, Bewitched. It didn’t take long to realize that the highlights of the set were going to be the guitar solos taken by Wareham and Eden. Both got their licks in during the opening number, weaving together melodic lines not unlike Television’s Verlaine and Lloyd.

Wareham’s guitar break during Anesthesia was fluid and dreamy while Eden got his chance to shine during Tracy I Love You.

Dean took a bit of time to reminisce about his time living in Auckland as a child, recalling being eaten by mosquitoes in Herne Bay in 1969 and watching the moon landing on TV, which segued nicely into Moon Palace.

Then, Wareham introduced Justin Harwood, Luna’s original bassist who had played with the band until the end of the 90s. The former Chills bass man has been laying low, but it was a pleasure to hear him back with the band and quite revealing how the sound and dynamic subtly changed with the change in bass players. It seemed once Harwood joined in and Britta moved over to keyboards, the group played with more power and intensity.

Perhaps Britta thought so too…she was seen standing in the audience, watching the band by the end of the show.

Highlights during the final segment of the show included a beautifully lyrical solo by Sean during Bewitched, the first of two encore selections and the extended jam that developed during closing number Indian Summer. Oh, and Dean’s playing during Chinatown was pretty special as well.

The band clearly enjoyed jamming with their old comrade and that feeling extended into the audience who were caught up in the fireworks taking place on stage.

Marty Duda

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Michael Flynn:


Luna set list:
  1. California (All The Way)
  2. Sideshow By The Seashore
  3. Anesthesia
  4. Malibu Love Nest
  5. Tiger Lily
  6. Tracy I Love You
  7. Lost In Space
  8. Cindy Tastes Of Barbecue
  9. Moon Palace
  10. Slide
  11. Friendly Advice
  12. Chinatown
  13. 23 Minutes In Brussels
  14. Bewitched
  15. Indian Summer