Yeah yeah yeah yea yea yeah yeah yeah!”
Out of the four Terminal 5 concerts, LCD Soundsystem and Shit Robot delivered possibly the most upbeat and spirited performance last night. It was also the loudest show. Each show has progressed with increasing volume, the first two did not mandate earplugs, the third had some songs above comfort level and the fourth night was blaring. It may have been intentional to increase intensity, but I’m sure it was the band going deaf and asking for more volume each night.
The band was beyond exhaustion. James Murphy even joked, “This is reason number 700 why we’re retiring, because we’re old and our shit doesn’t work anymore.” Drummer Pat Mahoney was suffering the worst with dominant back pains, but was more than willing to plow through and finish with a few last songs to complete the night and four consecutive grandiose nights of 3-hour sets. (The band tentatively weren’t going to play “All I Want” or “Jump into the Fire” tonight, but decided to at the last minute) By the encore, Murphy confessed the obvious that his voice was shot. He was eating licorice on stage to assuage it, but one has to ponder how his voice will be for the final farewell show at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. They have one night off, yet voices don’t fully recover after a day and half.
Murphy will pull it off, that’s the LCD way and just one reason why they’re one of the best live bands. Knowing that they had 12 hours to play over four nights, the band naturally paced and preserved their energy accordingly. By last night, they were tired (I was nearly dead as a spectator myself) and knowing that it was their last night, they saw the end ahead and overcompensated and finally really, genuinely enjoyed themselves.
At the same time, seeing the end ahead also made the event more emotional. Murphy spoke much more this evening than any other night. He was humbled and continuously thanked the crowd for being present and introduced and thanked the band members and guests multiple times with tender hugs. The scope was setting in and he even called himself out, “Maybe the big guy should quit rambling and we play another song for you.”
These four shows have been a warm-up and dress rehearsal. They’ve only been wearing black and white as they had asked concertgoers to do for their final MSG “funeral.” But as Murphy reminded everyone, “This is our last show here and our second to last show ever,” it finally became real.
Everyone knows they’re bowing out and many people are flying from all over the world to partake in the celebration and the long bid adieu. But with any parting (breakup, death, moving away), we often don’t really feel the depth of the loss until after it’s gone. You know you’ll miss someone, but it’s not until they’re actually gone that it truly sinks in. Murphy’s long promise of retirement was stated even in their last album’s title, This is Happening. On this evening, a few favorite LCD lyrics come to renewed fruition:
Forget your past, this is your last chance now.
And we can break the rules like nothing will last. –“Home”
And it keeps coming, and it keeps coming, and in keeps coming ‘til the day it stops. – “Someone Great”
We’re safe, for the moment.
Saved, for the moment. – “Someone Great”
We are safe for the moment and we do have one last chance now on Saturday at Madison Square Garden. If you can’t be there, it will be streamed live online by Pitchfork.com. Expect more big surprises that we haven’t even seen yet. Maybe some of LCD’s Belgian cohorts, maybe a band I mentioned in the Night 3 review. There have been some hushed very exclusive rehearsals going on at Madison Square Garden and we can expect LCD to continue to top themselves, one last time.
Possibly my favorite live LCD moment now:
The 5:31 mark on “You Wanted a Hit.” The raw guitars come in for a one-time explosion. So much build and controlled chaos.
Set List – March 31, 2011 (Night 4):
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) w/ Reggie Watts
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)
Night 4: No new songs added. LCD played longer (3hr15min) and played all songs mentioned above from Night 2 and 3
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.