There was plenty of speculation as to who might show up at LCD Soundsystem's final show at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night (April 2), but the result was three Arcade Fire members, some Hot Chip folks, Reggie Watts and almost four hours of non-stop music.
And contrary to popular opinion and demand, Daft Punk did not play at James Murphy's house. His house.
The frontman's backing band featured anywhere from eight members (including Pat Mahoney, Nancy Whang, Al Doyle, Gavin Russom, Tyler Pope and Matt Thornley) to as many could crash the stage in choir and horn form, pulling off about three hours and 40 minutes of live music, dredging up b-sides, covers and even their Nike running mix "45:33." They delighted with "Tribulations" and "Starry Eyes," a cover of Harry Nilsson's "Jump Into The Fire." And they hit all the major, basic hits: "Drunk Girls," "Get Innocuous," "Us V Them," "Losing My Edge," "All My Friends" and "North American Scum."
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Win and Will Butler and Regine Chassagne from Arcade Fire joined on the latter -- hey, Canada's still North America -- and repeated the same spirited conclusion that dance kids in America aren't nearly as cool as the kids from elsewhere. But, hey, considering MSG sold out in less than 20 minutes (scalper scum), these kids were willing to drop $8.50 a beer and mostly don white and black outfits at the band's behest, to bid adieu.
I wasn't at the MSG show, though it's probably for the best considering my feet were worn to nubs after the Thursday night Terminal 5 show. (Yes, Terminal 5 is still and awful venue to see live music). But the final hurrah was enjoyed, in full, from the comfort of my couch, and I appreciate how balls-out Murphy got for ALL five of the shows this week. Dude had zero voice left as he lovingly delivered "New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down," I didn't know how he would manage to bring it back for their largest, non-festival headlining show ever, their first (and apparently last) at MSG.
When that show sold-out, as much as complaining, it prompted a lot of think pieces from the DFA-loving community. It was thought that the over-hype and gushing was being churned out by Pitchfork, or Bowery Presents, or Ticketmaster or whoever, to move more tickets and to actually, really totally sell the shows out.
And maybe that's the truth. StubHub was buzzing with a lot of transactions this past week, and I know plenty of people who just showed up to MSG and had no problem snatching a ticket. Of course, that's a very unscientific poll. But what would be more annoying than fielding complaints about the difficulty of acquiring a ticket is the quality of show that the band put on after said hoopla.
But I have no complaints, nor it seems does anybody else. For all intents and purposes, it worked, and at least all of New York was talking about it. Sorry, Rest of America.
Of course I loved the LCD singles, but I was sold over "Sound of Silver," an album about quarter-lifing, lamenting and losing your mind in New York precisely around the time I was experiencing the same. It was my mirror, and while I agree with AV Club's Steven Hyden that Murphy is a critic as well as a musician, Murphy is simply one of us. He's showed off the "stupid decisions" of "All My Friends" and mused accurately, "You wanted a hit / But tell me what's the point of it" in "You Wanted a Hit." He makes fun of himself for being too old and apologized and thanked the crowd for tolerating "deep cuts." His hang-ups are out there, in a way you wouldn't want Bono or Billie Joe Armstrong or Lady Gaga to hang 'em up. And he's hung 'em up. Good on him.
"This is a weird experience for us," he said early in the show. "In keeping with the history of our band, we hope it's going to be a weird experience for everybody."
The members of LCD will probably record together again in some way, shape or form. It just won't look like this. If they'd tried it again, they would have truly lost their edge.