By the week’s end, I will have witnessed about 15 hours of LCD Soundsystem playing live. Some have been skeptical of song variation since LCD stuck to one defined set list per tour for their last two tours. The first five songs tonight were identical as the previous night so there was some doubt.
But as James Murphy has said, they are playing rare or very old tracks that are career spanning and he has been delivering on that promise. He even apologized last night saying, “We’re going to play some songs that are really old. You may not know them, so sorry.”
This evening’s new additions were “Too Much Love” and a song they haven’t played in three years, “North American Scum” showing off some of LCD’s thickest bass lines. Reggie Watts guest sang again on “You Can’t Hide (Shame on You).” This track is great live with retro disco-soul in full effect and kindred man-love on stage with Murphy and Watts sharing singing roles. Giant ‘fro aside, Watts’ presence stands out with his high falsetto voice and ability to beatbox and create sounds where LCD would normally use synthesizers. It’s unlikely Watts will be present for the third concert since he has his own show tonight in Williamsburg. Could highly anticipated songs “Great Escape” or “Beat Connection” be substituted in tonight?
Even after hearing certain LCD staples several times over, the sheer quality of the song and delivery never ceases to amaze. Does anyone else agree that Pat Mahoney may actually drum faster than the speed of light? Just when an LCD song climaxes, there’s a larger aural blast just ahead (“You Wanted a Hit,” “Movement,” “Losing My Edge”). As perfectionists, the band’s results are very obvious. Terminal 5 has never sounded so good. Massive volume was sacrificed, but the sound is crisp and clear on all parts including the bonus additional chorus and horn section. The light/laser show is stellar and often resembles what a UFO launch or landing may look like.
Like skilled DJs (which they are as well), LCD’s riveting live sets seems to be following a general structure that is similar to a 3-hour DJ set. Start with a quick, strong build with lots of high energy then let the crowd catch their breath with a more esoteric/instrumental middle and then build up and finish hard again. On this evening, a birthday segue for Nancy Whang and follow this up with a swaying all-inclusive sing-along of “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” to do just that, bring you down again.
This format’s design is vital for a three-hour LCD party. Otherwise, fans would physically break down from such prolonged, intense dancing. Which is why these farewell shows are so special. LCD fans are aware that there are few live bands of this caliber and genre that invoke so much dancing. Music fans want to be a part of this revelry that leads up to the last dance at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
A funny group at Terminal 5 last night created a Soul Train-like corridor that you were forced to go through to pass by the bar and naturally you were not allowed passage without dancing. This lasted all night. I also met a diehard Phish fan (100+ shows) that was floored with his first LCD show.
Remember how former DFA band The Rapture would shout, “People don’t dance no more” on “Whoo! Alright-Yeah…Uh Huh?” LCD Soundsystem are holding nothing back and have been putting in so much work to make these last shows special. And they truly are. I suggest getting a ticket (they’ve been releasing 100 or so tickets at the door each day so far) and getting these last dances in before we can no longer dance with LCD no more.
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 29, 2011 (Night 2):
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
Us vs. Them
Freak Out/Starry Eyes
North American Scum
You Wanted a Hit
Losing My Edge
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”