Got three hours and 41 minutes?
LCD Soundsystem, Liquid Liquid
Saturday, April 2
Madison Square Garden
Better Than: Seeing the Strokes there on Friday.
Midway through the evocative “Someone Great,” James Murphy wiped his cheek with his hand. Maybe he was crying. Or maybe he was sweating. It could have been either; both tears and perspiration were prevalent throughout LCD Soundsystem’s final show at Madison Square Garden.
The show began a few minutes after nine, with frontman Murphy and his band, dressed strictly in black and white, walking out onto the stage to 10cc’s “I’m Not In Love.” The lyrics cooed, “It’s just a silly phase I’m going through”–was Murphy trying to make this break-up easier for the both of us by reducing a decade’s worth of post-punk perfection to a “silly phase?”
The band then launched into a nearly four-hour set with “Dance Yrself Clean,” which also made for the night’s mission statement. The fist-pumping “Drunk Girls,” the hopeful “I Can Change,” the snarky “Time To Get Away,” and just about everything else Murphy has ever set to tape followed. This “experiment,” as the tuxedoed frontman called the night, was LCD Soundsystem’s last chance to play the songs so many night owls can attribute their best New York nights to. After all, this was the soundtrack that spoke of the need to be there, and to have the right cultural grounding (“Losing My Edge”), and to maybe realize that this city could sometimes have ill effects (“New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down”). But then again, these songs were also celebrations of the good things, like friends (“All My Friends”), getting things done (“Yeah!”), and Daft Punk (“Daft Punk Is Playing At My House”).
All night long, the atmosphere felt euphoric and mournful; this show would never happen again, but it was happening right now. As the air filled with weed smoke, and as the people rolling on E haphazardly danced, the realization that tonight truly represented the end of era sunk in.
The cynics say Murphy and some iteration of LCD Soundsystem will be back in five years playing Coachella. I say they’re wrong. The Tweets all throughout the day following the show were full of laments–#RIPLCD, #someonegreatisgone, #lcdiloveyoubutyourebringingmedown–but who can’t admire this heroic exit?
It’s difficult to recall one singular act, like LCD, that can unite the “kids” with their curmudgeonly elders. Arcade Fire, who joined the band on “North American Scum,” can fill the Garden, but they can’t make that claim. Sure, they have an Album of the Year Grammy to their name, but to some, they’re still a pretentious Neil Young rehash. Here, at MSG, the domesticated lot of us, i.e., those of us who hired babysitters, reveled in the enriched message of adulthood and maturity, while the party-inclined wanted nothing more than to embrace the rhythm.
Murphy, however, is leaving us all behind. And years from now, when we reminisce about this show, we’ll find ourselves getting nostalgic. We’ll talk about Murphy’s impeccable showmanship, his uncompromised devotion to entertaining, and the seizure-inducing flashing lights, gut-busting bass lines, and drumbeat that weakened the knees to jelly. We’ll recall at how having bumped into one another on the general admission floor felt so incomparably human. And we may feel ourselves tearing up, because as hardened as New York has made us, this evening had a special air about it. But we can just tell the people we’re with that that’s not a tear. It’s sweat.
Critical Bias: Four hours felt too short.
Overheard: “Look at the pandas, man!”
Random Notebook Dump: Susan Sarandon danced all night long. Courtney Love, on the other hand, Texted all night long.
Dance Yrself Clean
I Can Change
Time To Get Away
Daft Punk Is Playing At My House
Too Much Love
All My Friends
45:33 Part One
45:33 Part Two (w/ Reggie Watts)
Sound of Silver
45:33 Part Four
45:33 Part Five (w/ Shit Robot & Juan MacLean)
45:33 Part Six
Freak Out/Starry Eyes
Us v Them
North American Scum (w/ Arcade Fire)
Bye Bye Bayou (Alan Vega cover)
You Wanted A Hit
Yeah! (Crass Version)
Losing My Edge
All I Want
Jump Into the Fire (Harry Nilsson Cover)
New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 4, 2011