LCD Soundsystem’s third night at Terminal 5 was business as usual. As expected after playing three hours sets, two nights in row thus far, the band looked tired. On top of their nightly shows, they’ve been rehearsing a lot of older material during sound check, but only two or three songs have been performed on stage. Even fatigued, their performance is still an exercise of precision and a continued display of a great band going out in style at the top of their game.
This evening’s opener was DFA label mate Shit Robot’s first New York City appearance supporting his debut album From the Cradle to the Rave which came out last fall. As a solo act, Marcus Lambkin has the ideal visuals to complement his digitized version of house music. Standing behind a customized blank screen with a block cut out of the center, various video clips and imagery are projected on, resembling what a lemonade stand would look like if it was manned by Daft Punk. Donning a lit up neon green robot mask, Shit Robot has taken DJ-ing and mixing to higher aesthetic level. Highlights included “Losing My Patience” which features Hot Chip singer Alexis Taylor and a personal favorite, “Take ‘Em Up” with LCD’s Nancy Whang singing live which whirred the crowd into frenzied anticipation for the night’s main event.
Note that this main event is like nothing LCD has ever done before. With eight members as the core band on stage, this rivals that of their friends and former tour mates the Arcade Fire. Add a few main backing singers, ten-plus chorus singers and two sets of horn players and cameos from past LCD members, any given song has almost 30 people involved. This large production is near Broadway proportions for any band. This is LCD full and proper, going big and beyond.
Entering the stage to 10cc’s “I’m Not in Love,” LCD played their loudest and longest set thus far, clocking three hours and fifteen minutes. These epic sets are a well-oiled machine at this point, James Murphy no longer apologizes in advance for potential band “confused stares” or mistakes. But their sets follow a predictable model now, each night featuring two songs that have not been previously played any prior evening. Tonight’s surprises were both in the encore with the fuzzed-out “All I Want” and their well-known but rare cover of Harry Nilsson’s “Jump into the Fire.”
Along with the frenetic energy on the sweat-soaked dance floor, there’s also a bittersweet conviction clearly displayed by LCD fans. People are singing and dancing without abandon. Like it’s their last chance because it actually is. There are a lot of mixed feelings at these farewell shows. But it feels intrinsically empowering to watch friends hold each other during “All My Friends” and go from sad when Murphy laments “And to tell the truth/Oh, this could be the last time/So here we go” to bursting, top-of-your-lung chants of “where are your friends tonight.”
After three crazy nights with LCD, my legs are sore and my neck can barely support my head. It is, indeed, too much to go to five consecutive LCD Soundsystem shows. It’s too intense like having a 21st birthday party or New Year’s Eve party for five straight days. But I’ll continue to celebrate and dance; I can be sad and debilitated on Sunday after their final show ever (or for now).
LCD Soundsystem is playing five shows for its farewell tour from March 28 - April 2. Prefix contributor B.Q. Nguyen is attending all five shows and giving his take on each show.
Set List - March 30, 2011 (Night 3):
Dance Yrself Clean
I Can Change
Time to Get Away
Daft Punk is Playing at my House
Too Much Love
All My Friends
You Can’t Hide (Shame on You)
Sound of Silver
Out in Space
Freak out/Starry Eyes
Us vs. Them
North American Scum
You Wanted a Hit
Losing My Edge
All I Want
Jump into the Fire (Harry Nilsson cover)
New York, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down
Night 1: “Thrills” & “Yr City’s a Sucker”
Night 2: “Too Much Love” & “North American Scum”
Night 3: “All I Want” & “Jump into the Fire” (Harry Nilsson cover)