By Dani Frank
After ten years, three studio albums and multiple other releases, LCD Soundsystem exited the music industry on April 2, as nets filled with balloons dropped, fans embraced and the final words of "New York, I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down" rang through Madison Square Garden. The performance was four hours long, not including an opening act, Liquid Liquid, a 1980's post-punk band with an engaging collection of dance songs. The performance was the last in a string of Terminal 5 shows leading up to the Madison Square Garden, and spanned LCD Soundsytem's entire catalog of songs.
Fans were attired in black and white, as LCD Soundsystem had requested. The event was to be a funeral, but not somber. LCD kept their promise to open the show with "Dance Yrself Clean," the first track off of LCD Soundsystem's latest album. A shower of glow sticks rained down on the general admission section as the band played the fan favorite. LCD Soundsystem wisely engaged the audience from the beginning, powering through an up-tempo, sing-along song, "Drunk Girls." The first act of the show continued in this fashion, with stand-out performances of songs from their two most recent albums: 2010's "This is Happening" and 2007's "Sound of Silver."
A brief intermission was held after this first set, allowing the accompanying choir to change into silver jumpsuits and for special guest singer Reggie Watts to take the stage for a performance of "Sound of Silver." The band followed this formula for the rest of the performance, holding ten minute intermissions between sets. LCD leaned heavily on songs from an earlier release, "45:33," a mostly instrumental album.
Psychedelic images of clouds and a spaceman accompanied the set via large monitors on each side of the stage.The set aired on the side of being jam band-esque. However, cell phones glowed in the audience as texts were sent, and attendees used the set as an opportunity to sit down or leave to buy beer.
The third set was a return to LCD's previously energized performance. The set opened with "Us v. Them." Lead singer James Murphy then mentioned a band that he was friends with, featuring members from both America and Canada. The band in question was Arcade Fire. The front man Win Butler, Régine Chassange and Jeremy Gara gleefully sang back-up vocals to "North American Scum." The addition of the band was superfluous and mostly involved shouting, but was very welcome by the audience. It was expected that such stops would be pulled out in honor of the final performance. While rumors of Daft Punk abounded before the show, the band never made it to accompany the performance in the first set of "Daft Punk is Playing at My House."
While the band attempted to make an exit after performing their early hit, "Yeah," the audience clapped and called them until they returned to play "Someone Great." It was impossible not to make the connection between the end of LCD Soundsystem and the lyrics, "someone great is gone." The quiet echo of the audience singing along to the tune was heart-breaking.
"Losing My Edge," the song the band first became known for, was up next and met with overwhelming applause. They closed out the set with "Home" and announced there would only be three songs left. While the show had already been in progress around three hours, there was still an outrage present among the audience.
"All I Want" began the second encore, followed by a cover of Harry Nilsson's "Jump into the Fire." The final song, predictably, was "New York, I Love You." Murphy prefaced the song by saying how thankful he was of everyone who had come, particularly those in the nosebleed seats. He also thanked his friends in attendance, including Aziz Ansari and Bjork.
The song was an emotional end to an influential band who cared deeply about its fans. While the final notes of the song rang out through Madison Square Garden and those watching the livestream of the event watched at home, LCD Soundsystem quietly slipped off of the stage, and slipped forever into the history of music.