Tuesday, March 29
Terminal 5, NYC
What can I say? I just witnessed one of the greatest bands>"/>
What can I say? I just witnessed one of the greatest bands of my generation going out at the top of their game. And it was a tremendous show: three hours long, 24 songs, career-spanning, players and instruments all in white, a choir singing from the balcony above stage right, a wall of white lights strobing on at all the appropriate times. Terminal 5 is maybe the size of the Showbox SoDo if the Showbox SoDo had two balcony levels, and the place was sold-out packed. It was ecstatic, it was bittersweet, it was a wake, not a funeral.
After opening with "Dance Yourself Clean" (that beat drop!), LCD founder James Murphy thanked openers Liquid Liquid (who were awesome) and then told the crowd, as he often does, that he knows people want to film and take pictures, and he's fine with that, but maybe put down the phone, he advised, "maybe just be here." (I was there! But I also took notes on my phone.) Some synchronous highlights: An actual drunk girl was flopping into me like a clammy seal during "Drunk Girls"; I lost the person I came with during "All My Friends" and had to scream along to it pogoing up and down alone wondering where they were; I shouted at someone that I missed them during the epically longing "All I Want."
Much more after the jump . . .
Reggie Watts came out for a song during the "45:33" section of the band's set, duetting with Murphy on "You Can't Hide (Shame on You)" and then breaking into a little bit of scat to wild cheers (if you've never imagined thousands of people cheering for Reggie Watts scatting, well, you're not alone). Gavin Russom wasn't playing with the band that I could see, but all the other usual suspects were there, along with the band's original guitarist, Phil Mossman, who added vocals to the pneumatic drum machines and synth squeals of older track "Too Much Love" (one of only a couple songs that didn't have the entire crowd writhing, maybe on account of it being an old album cut). They played "Freak Out"/"Starry Eyes," ending the first song with a percussion jam from Murphy, drummer Pat Mahoney, and (now shirtless) guitarist Al Doyle, starting the second with a robotically funky synth arpeggio.
LCD Soundsystem, with choir
After "North American Scum" (during which the wall of lights flashed red, white, and blue so bright as to call any possible irony into serious question), Murphy said, "That's what happens when you play a song for the first time in three years, so thanks for being part of that." A giant disco ball lit up and spun its points of light for "Us v. Them" and "Tribulations," the latter sped up to a nervous pace, both of which had the crowd moving like mad. The raving crescendo of "Yeah" was capped with some big strobe lights, which slowed down along with a sustained bending synth tone, like a motor revving, into "Someone Great," Doyle shirtless playing a xylophone lead, the whole crowd straining endearingly off-key to sing along.
For "Losing My Edge," they did a little Suicide riff after Murphy sang the bit about being at the first Suicide practices and working on the organ sounds; after Murphy did the line about being the first guy to play Daft Punk to the rock kids (at CBGBs, no less!), Doyle interpolated a quick synthesizer lick of the French Duo's "Da Funk." During the wistful set-closer, "Home," you could see legs dangling from the second-floor balcony; it'd been nearly three hours by now, and some folks were clearly feeling it. During the encore, Murphy sang "Happy Birthday" to his sister up on one of the balconies, and the band led into their traditional last last song, "New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down," with, why not, Angelo Badalamenti's theme to Twin Peaks.
LCD Soundsystem, with Murphy enjoying a well earned drink
In the run-up to these final shows, lots of jokes have made handicapping the length of time until the de rigueur reunion show--five years, maybe?--but after last night, I don't mind if, true to their word, this really is it for LCD Soundsystem. (And I'm a sucker for reunion shows.) So long, LCD Soundsystem.
1. "Dance Yourself Clean"
2. "Drunk Girls"
3. "I Can Change"
4. "Time to Get Away"
5. "Get Innocuous"
6. "Daft Punk Is Playing at My House"
7. "Too Much Love"
8. "All My Friends"
9. "You Can't Hide (Shame on You)" ("45:33")
10. "Sound of Silver"
11. "Out in Space" ("45:33")
12. "Ships Talking" ("45:33")
13. "Us v. Them"
14. "Freak Out"/"Starry Eyes"
15. "North American Scum"
16. "You Wanted a Hit"
20. "Someone Great"
21. "Losing My Edge"
23. "All I Want"
24. "New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down"