James Murphy is Irish, so why not a wake? Following his decision to kill off the LCD Soundsystem franchise, lead singer Murphy announced a last hurrah at Madison Square Garden, less than a month after the Pogues had done thie same thing at T5. And that's what we got, four nights at T5 followed by a long (over 3 1/2 hours) career high, career overview. A statement made, and Murphy's statement was: "My call, we are leaving at the top.
LCD Soundsystem requested audience members wear black and white and many did, a 20ish audience of good looking recent college grads, in High School whenthe band was formed in 2003, the boys wore white suits, the girls black stockings and miniskirts. They looked hip but, especially in the GA pit, danced with wild abandon.
But first local legends Liquid Liquid played an excellent half set of heavy drums and bass that seemed a step away from their post-punk funk and more African based rhythms. It was enormously effective as dance and oddly old ffashhioned with neither a PC, sample, synth or drum machine in sight, it harkened back to a Brown-y concept where you made em move by adding a drummer and layering the bass where the guitar should be.
38 minutes later LCD walked onto a brightly lit, highly cluttered, very busy stage and systematically blew the house down…. except, the night was too long and it caught up to them during the middle set., an extended segueing dance set with Murphy at the back of the stage playing the keyboards and the, admittedl excellent, guitarist David Scott -Stont front and center. An excellentent extended dance groove on "Sounds Of SIlver" didn't save the middle from the possibility of collapse -horn players in space suites did. It was elevenish and those not on various forms of ecstatic drugs wilted a little as the dance groove went on and on.
One more problem, the opening set was so hits heavy, the band didn't get its groove entirely back again the encores, this despite special guests Arcade Fire appearance on a brilliant "North American Scum". Murphy explained the AF connection (they had toured together) and forever arrogant Win shouted "get on with it" . And so James did. He smacked it hard but, damn you to hell Trebek, AF, simply screaming the chorus, the "awwww, awwww", were awesome and an unforgettable moment in a night filled with them.
Two hours earlier, Murphy had hit the ground at a sprint, with a formidable second song "Drunk Girls" and a moving and powerful "I Can Change". Before Set # 1 was over, we had also heard "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House", "Too Much Love" and "All My Friends" one after the other.Only problem was the close circuit TV was down! They had it fixed for the rest of the night.
If the second set was LCD as dance band and the third as groovy fucks, the first set was LCD in futuristic rock band garb. Banks, of PCs, synths drum machines, back up singers, Murphy center stage screaming into the mic, and everything programmed, distilled, pre-determined, and yet still organic, human, loose. Impressive stuff and precisely why they are (were) a legendary band.
By the encores, any question of a lull was put to sleep and two three song encores were breathtaking and heartbreaking. When James said this would be the bands last song everyone groaned and Murphy admonished us so we cheered instead for a good "New York You're Bringing Me Down" and while I realize why he played it last, I think he shoulda held out for something a touch more upbeat. And then ballons rained down ("Like New Year's Eve only everyboday dies at midnight" he quipped).
The six songs were a steady build of a long goodbye: mid first encore a terrific "Losing My Edge" -I texted Helen and told her to leave Elton for five minutes and watch the Pitchfork stream. I hope it is available on line, I was in the 300s at MSG and while to the side not so bad. The "Edge" was the edge of your dreams. I would go further, every single hit, every single heart of the LCD oevre, was the best time you have ever heard it.
It was all so celbratory and sad at the same time. Funky horns, full choirs, guest stars and friends, performer heavy stage, howling, rocking beats, along beautiful ynth hooks and back beats, banks of computers, overflowing stage, singers anmd musicians crowding each other. The first song, "Dance Yrself Clean" building and building to Murphy exploding in drums and beats: magificent, . Murphy's soaring falsetto and beats against beats against beats, humans vs computers… human computers.
A final farewell to one of the great bands of our time.
I was wrong.
It wasn't long enough.
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – September 1985 (Volume 17, Number 4)
Rock ‘n’ roll is dead. We’re just dancin’ on its grave
Brief Encounters: New Album Releases 3-17-23 – 3-23-22
a coming of age for modern Arabic pop and not Arabic Sahara garage
Back in 2009 We Went To The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Museum New York Annex Here Is Our Report (Before Its Abrupt Closure!!)
kids picking out songs on guitars and discovering they too can do it
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – August 1985 (Volume 17, Number 3)
squirming around on her back like she’d just received a double dose of injectable pig wormer
Money, Money, Money: Buying Tickets In 2023
one of the worst endings to a major concert
Sharon Van Etten At The Troubadour, Sunday March 19th 2023
“I always dreamed of playing the Troubadour”
Single by Single review Of Paul McCartney’s The 7″Singles Box Reviewed
a master of melody and less so a master of genre
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – July 1985 (Volume 17, Number 2)
Bill Holdship’s piece on Prince is excellent