Live: LCD Soundsystem Toasts the End of the World at Terminal 5
Reggie and James
Monday, March 28
Better than: The rest of those Certainly the End of Something or Other, One Would Sort of Have to Thinks
We are gathered here in New York City's Terminal 5 to say goodbye to one of the most impeccable music projects of our adult lives. It's all very fitting since we live in a world that seems, at an increasingly alarming rate, to be on the precipice of something, and that something doesn't seem very easy, or simple, or carefree. And LCD Soundsystem was never any of those things. It was, at least in this revered projection, a proposition of tremendous emotional heft, a means of battling resignation, loss, frustration, bullshit. An acknowledgment that things are fundamentally wrong, while attempting to maintain a sense of self-respect and livelihood, while maybe even getting blitzed and pogo-dancing. And that's the gist of tonight, we surmise, the first night in a string of five meant to send the band off into the darkness, or the light, depending: a chance for this 41-year-old ultimately fighting teddy bear to walk away from his third decade (plus one) with dignity.
This "weird last show and reunion" done "before we're all fucking old," as James Murphy will explain during the last of three hour-long "chunks," begins with the unmistakable bongo-slap and the electric-piano-note creep of This Is Happening. But the record's first 30 seconds, a walk-on here extended to almost two minutes, doesn't elicit the same rapturous crowd response as when our unshaven hero finally breathes out the first lines to tonight's first song "Dance Yrself Clean": Walking up to me expecting/Walking up to me expecting, words/It happens all the time.
Tonight too. Right away we are subjected to thousands who turned up expressly for Murphy's words. The need for throaty singalongs will become a problem later, during the second act, when LCD does their complete, mostly instrumental Nike-commissioned mix 45:33, with comedian Reggie Watts non-ironically crooning the "Shame on You" segue. But right now, the room screams knowingly at imagined frenemy targets--evidently the lines "Talking like a jerk/Except you are an actual jerk/And living proof/That sometimes friends are mean" are Murphy's douchebag toast, lyrics that makes dudebros lock eyes and scream into each others' faces. Those will be the people who will leave during the second act tonight, who will talk loudly during 45:33, who will knock over the guy with the white cane in the handicapped section and not even apologize, who will stand at the end of the world as we know it and think they feel fine.
So be it. The rest of us will be here tonight just trying to dance ourselves clean, erase the filth of Libyan evils and Huffington crimes and Twitter noise. Alcohol is definitely a sanitizer, and so we go, face-first into "Drunk Girls," and don't look back. The vulnerable paus de deux of "I Can Change." The remorseless extrication of "Time To Get Away," which turns out to be about Murphy's old manager. ("Fuck that dude," Murphy says tonight. "He's a fucking asshole and I paid money to be able to say that.") The other employer fuck-off, "You Wanted a Hit" in the third act, followed by the supremely sad and sublimely resigned, "Someone Great," a perfect song that makes me drown in missed goodbyes. At the end of it all, there will not be time for goodbyes, but thanks to James Murphy, this week, there will be plenty.
Overheard, Act I: "My friend is in a wheelchair and I'm really drunk. Do you know who's smoking all that weed? I would really like some."
Overheard, Act II: "They have another album before the first one, you know." --Two dudes trying to Shazam "Freak Out"
Overheard, Act III: "I was going to get the X-ray before Coachella, but I might as well wait until after Coachella."
Critical bias: Bought this ticket off Craigslist.
Dance Yrself Clean (with choir)
I Can Change
Time to Get Away
Daft Punk Is Playing At My House
Yr City's a Sucker
All My Friends
45:33 [Gets a little fuzzy here]
You Can't Hide (Shame On You) (with Reggie Watts)
Sound of Silver
Out In Space (with The Juan MacLean)
Ships Talking (with Shit Robot)
Freak Out/Starry Eyes
Us v Them
You Wanted a Hit
Yeah (Pretentious Version)
Losing My Edge
New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down