A year-and-a-half ago I walked into the legendary Berlin nightclub on Belmont Street in Chicago for the first time in probably two decades. A bit of expansion, some needed touch-ups to the restrooms, but for the most part the place retained the charm the key value that made me a straight regular at a mostly gay club back when the body could recover on four hours of sleep on a school night: A pre-Youtube era video collection to die for.
The elevated DJ/VJ booth still occupied its perch, and I climbed the few steps and mumbled something to the DJ along the lines of, “you know, you don’t have to do this, but if they haven’t tossed them, somewhere back there is a vhs collection with a copy of “The Whole of the Moon” by the Waterboys, and if you can find it and you’ve still got the vhs player I’d love you forever if you could play it.”
Not a minute later there it was. The grainy video. Scott howling in the mic. Wallinger banging the keys. Thistlewaite on sax. Wickham flying the bow across the fiddle. I was transported back to those late-80s visits to Berlin when I requested that video from the DJ every time I walked in the door. And he or she would play it.
And then my mind went back further. Still have the stub. Cabaret Metro, summer 1985. A seeming sea of musicians on the small stage, made smaller by the presence of a grand piano. A set that will remain with me forever, and a ‘Whole of the Moon’ that captured, well, the whole of the fucking moon.