Previously on Lost
Sunday, May 24
This is “the most important night of your life, the most anticipated night of human history” recap-rock band Previously on Lost announces to the sold-out crowd at Bell House. It’s around 8pm on Sunday night, an hour before the hugely anticipated final episode of Lost is scheduled to air. There’s a Christmas Eve-like atmosphere resonating from the audience, all anticipation and nerves as they prepare for the end. But first, the band is here, like a gang of perfectly rehearsed hype men, to pump them up, and remind them why they chose to pay 10 bucks to hunker down in metal folding chairs for the momentous occasion.
As Previously on Lost take the stage, the audience rises and turns toward a 20-foot Papier-mâché model of a broken Oceanic 815, the fated plane that is the basis of the series, suspended from the rafters. The band salutes; the crowd follows suit. And what creeps out of the speakers seems at that moment, to these people, divine: R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly,” which Previously on Lost has dubbed the show’s unofficial theme song. The two bandleaders, each bearing a palm frond, lead the audience through the R&B jam as if they’re heading up a gospel service. There are hands in the air, some open-palmed towards the fuselage swaying in the AC breeze, and even raised fists, frozen in mid-pump.
The fleshed out seven-member version of Previously on Lost has decorated their stage with a deck chair, a stuffed panda and polar bear, a plastic machine gun, a hula girl, and no less than four large palm tree accessories. The band’s leaders, Jeff Curtin and Adam Schatz, have a surprising knack for harmony, despite shouting most of their lyrics in unison, and employ a performance style reminiscent of musical theatre mixed with improv. At the height of their last song, the clear fan favorite, “Ballad of Sayid,” confetti explodes and flutters down on the audience. It’s a simple joy in what will become, after 2.5 hours of show, a very complicated night.
When the stage is cleared, the lights dim, and the show actually begins, the room is one euphoric organism oohing and ahhing at every quasi-predictable event. When Jack hurls himself off a cliff toward John “Smokey” Locke, only to be caught in mid-air by a commercial break, there are screams of horror. Every time a character appears that we haven’t seen in many episodes, sometimes even seasons (here’s lookin at you, Shannon), there’s such unyielding applause that we usually miss the first thing out of their mouths. A good portion of the show is devoted to sappy, “sideways-world” love connections–the accompanying violin music and garish yellow-tinged light would be nauseating to a non-fan, but here it’s gobbled ferociously up.
The last 20 minutes of the episode, however, are a slow-motion death. Dreams are dashed, as all the possible endings the fans had envisioned, or hoped to be surprised with, evaporate. The shushing dies off and there’s an audible murmur as what we were convinced would never happen happens. Jack’s father opens a pair of church doors to reveal a blinding white light, the glories of Heaven shining down upon the cast.
Some mouths are literally agape as the word ‘Lost’ appears to signal the series’ end. A few people applaud. A few more loudly boo. A young lady raises two middle fingers to the screen. Most sit in stunned silence. The most prevalent and possibly worst rumored ending–except for the one where it was all a dream and someone (usually Walt, more amusingly Vincent the dog) wakes up–washes over the room like so much snaking black smoke. Most of the guests seem to have removed their leis in disgust. Easily 100 people blankly march out of the Gowanus venue onto 7th Street. Some look enraged, some clearly heartbroken, most just utterly lost.