The Last Goodbye Cinematic Experience: An Honest Review

As I wandered into my dainty, unassuming, and very much local 2-screen cinema, I had no idea what to expect. That is usually the case for any trip I take to the theater. Void of all expectation due to my lack of research beforehand and often only attending because I was invited to do so. That, up until now had been about the same for my relationship with Odesza as a whole; very passive, but never disappointing. I can confidently inform you that this has changed.

This film is, simply put, an eye-opening experience. As a consumer, you are often not met with information as to what goes into handcrafting an album and even more so what goes into planning production for such a calculated set. This film breaks you from those consumeristic confines for the span of a deceivingly stately 1h 49m. I felt like I was in that theater for no less than double that. Could be due to the masterful pacing of the film (much like their live performances) or the simple fact my eyes were glued to that screen every second of every minute they were meant to be. The first half of the film is primarily focused on deep insights into every aspect of the production for The Last Goodbye live experience. You get an extensive inside look into the development of the Odesza drum line all the way back to their debut in 2016, the production of songs off the album, light and pyro programming, and even the built-from-scratch visuals featured in their sets. My only complaint is I desired more! I had so many unanswered questions as a curious artist myself that I imagine could only be clarified if I were allotted an entire 24-hour period with Odesza and the fellow masterminds behind the production.


The Last Goodbye production on full display at Okeechobee- Odesza Twitter

Anyone who has seen the visual pairings for Odesza’s live sets knows they are nothing short of powerful. This film takes that to the nth degree with strategic overlays that extend the eye-catching visuals well beyond the stage, strategic placement of effects over those who grace the stage and members of the crowd, and purely engrossing editing. I was mildly caught off guard by some minor mismatched timing between audio and visuals. I am going to attribute that to my local theater’s low-budget equipment and remain hopeful that nobody else had/has the same experience in that regard. Regardless, I was highly impressed with the apparent attention to detail outside of those few moments my eyes caught a drop a few fractions of a second before my ears did (much like one might experience being at the back of a crowd 80,000 strong).

Now, let’s dive deeper.

As a fairly passive fan, I could never quite nail down abysmal personalities for Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight. From my viewpoint, they had never put themselves out there in a vulnerable manner and it didn’t translate through their music because I never gave it the opportunity to. The second half of the film focused on the more emotional aspects of Odesza’s tenure with testimonials, reminiscence, and plain-out passionate tunes. Simply put; I couldn’t have been more under-informed.

Let’s start at the beginning. I am sure we can all agree there is something innately emotional, holistic, and eye-opening about childhood home videos. That remains very true with clips of a youthful Clayton sitting on his father’s lap while he plays gentle melodies on the piano and imagery of Harrison taking what must have been one of his first walks up the steps in his childhood home.

We unfortunately don’t learn a whole lot about the days between the aforementioned and when they would fatefully meet each other in their freshman year of college at Western Washington University. Ironically enough neither Mills nor Knight were enrolled in the music program, but instead were studying graphic design and math/physics respectively. It wasn’t until their senior year(2012) that the two would begin dabbling extensively in the realm of music; building sonic landscapes from within their bedrooms.


Clayton and Harrison paying a visit to the place where it all began in Bellingham, WA – Odesza Instagram

In September of that same year they began collaborating, they would release their debut LP Summer’s Gone and in characteristically quick succession, perform their first show in November. When it comes to rapid and exponential growth, Odesza are model citizens. This knowledge is quite ironic when paired with the fact that the duo hardly even saw this as more than a hobby at the beginning and would even share early conversations surrounding what they would do for work when it all ran its course. Needless to say, I don’t think they need to hop on Indeed anytime soon. Over the next 5 years, they would go on to perform approximately 600 times. With their swift rise to fame and nonstop traveling around the globe, the two speak on having had little to no time to reflect inward and really soak in life for what it was.

After a much-needed 2 year gap in their discography following their collaborative album Bronson and a lengthy 5 years since A Moment Apart, the duo would announce what is arguably their most introspective project to date, The Last Goodbye. This part of the film did became very Harrison-centric. Leading me to believe he is the emotional beast of the two (me too man), but I digress. He tells the tale of how the concept for the album came to life. At the time of inception, he speaks on thoughts of existentialism and the feeling of never knowing when you may see a loved one for the last time (a theme also described as influencing A Moment Apart). The concept was miraculously put into three simple words when searching for samples to include in the album and stumbling across a vinyl containing Bettye LaVette’s “Let Me Down Easy” which would subsequently be featured in the title track of the album. I was most definitely caught holding back a tear or two while shoveling piles of popcorn into my mouth. So as I wander out of my dainty, unassuming, and very much local 2-screen cinema, the sentiment is now clear as the light of day to me. So forgive me for what I did not attempt to know. I will never listen to this album or Odesza the same.

In conclusion: The Last Goodbye Cinematic Experience was nothing shy of just that; an experience. Chalked full of emotion, awe-inspiring soundscapes, and undeniable visuals. This flick should absolutely be on every music lover’s bucket list, avid fan of Odesza or not. That is, if you can catch it…

– Party

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