LCD Soundsystem's bittersweet victory lap at Madison Square Garden

James Murphy tugs at the crowd's heart strings one last time

April 04, 2011|By Wesley Case

LCD Soundsystem called it quits Saturday, performing a bittersweet, three-and-a-half hour victory lap to a sold-out crowd at New York’s Madison Square Garden. I respect James Murphy and Co. for going out on their own terms, and not churning out more material because they feel like they “owe” it to the fans. There’s something beautiful about a band knowing when to exit and wanting to dance and get sweaty at its funeral. (The band asked anyone attending the last show to wear black and/or white.)

Pitchfork had the entire show on YouTube, but the powers that be seem to have killed it already. Instead, here’s LCD doing “All My Friends,” their beloved ode to growing old and growing apart from everyone. It’s undoubtedly one of LCD’s most celebrated, exhilarating songs, achingly precise and terrifying and gorgeous. This is how I prefer to remember LCD Soundsystem: a group unafraid of the existential without ever sounding macabre, a route reserved for lesser bands. James Murphy isn’t an extraordinary singer, but he has a knack for tackling the most harrowing ideas (aging, loneliness, death, loss of “cool”) with contagaious sincerity and even a sense of humor. I’m the furthest thing from a dance-music expert, but LCD Soundsystem always offered a type of music I found infinitely rewarding. Murphy is a master at triggering sensations in the heart and feet, making fans move with his grooving, piece-by-piece alchemy and bringing on tears with his Everyman dilemmas. My heart is a bit heavier knowing I’ll likely never see LCD Soundsystem live, but I’m comforted by the fact I’ll always have the songs. (Crystal-clear YouTube clips, like this one, help, too.)

The Internet really did its thing in the days leading up to LCD’s exit. Here are links to articles that better articulate why this band will be so missed:

Rob Sheffield on the MSG show.
Pitchfork’s "You Were There," an extensive look at every LCD Soundsystem song.
Jon Caramanica compares the last LCD show with the Strokes’ New York gig.
David Marchese on Murphy before the group.
Nitsuh Abebe says goodbye to the band.
Spin’s “Eseential” LCD playlist.

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