This is what 5:15 a.m. tastes like

“I’ll fight him! I swear I’ll fight him!”

These kind words were spoken from the drunk twentysomething directly behind me at around 6:15 a.m., as we both waited in line for the limited presale of LCD Soundsystem’s final show at Madison Square Garden. I’d been there for an hour before that, and 6.15 on Houston Street isn’t really a fun place—the road is too wide for it to have any kind of character; most of the places of interest are on the many side roads directly below it—but I was braving it, and the ridiculous cold, to get a rare General Admission ticket to this final show.

The guy was threatening to fight a man who had made fun of his brother for dancing around in the cold, trying to warm his feet. I was with the rest of his group for agreeing that mocking a kid for trying to stay warm was a pretty dick move, but this dude, who was fueled by a combination of cold, natural irritability, and off-label whiskey, felt it incumbent upon him to fight the jerk. Luckily the brother was smart and didn’t tell him who or where the jerk was—I have no doubt the guy would have made the experience a whole lot more unpleasant for everyone involved.

On my way down to Houston Street, I was alone—not even the sun was out to keep me company. Finally, I got to the line, which I feared would spread around the block (I read the DFA forum threads with panicky and exaggerating claims from Bostonians who swore they’d get there at 3 a.m. to beat the obvious rush). In fact, I was like the thirteenth person in line. I thought about kicking myself for getting there so early, but given what it could have been, I figured I made the right choice.

As the morning rolled on, the line kept getting longer and longer, until it was around the block, and out of sight. We ended up making friends with the security guy, who had just moved to New York the previous week and was friends with the Mercury Lounge owner—he had been up since 1 a.m. and was living off of a steady stream of Red Bull. I was sort of nervous I was going to encounter the stereotypical dick, but he was an awesome guy, giving us spare clothing from the lost-and-found (the lady in front of us got a ratty but warm hat), and asking us if we needed coffee or bathrooms.

The conversations drifted to the usual paranoia about whether we got there too early, got there on time, or should have stayed at home instead (there was an online presale, but we all assumed the tickets were inferior and would sell out immediately—which they were, and did). We would glance at the woman who a guy ahead of us stopped and paid 50 bucks to buy two extra tickets for him, as they only sold two per customer. I was stopped by a guy who asked what time I got there and was then accosted by the loose cannon, who called him an asshole for no particular reason.

By the end of it, the line was around the entire block. There was a rumor around eight that they would cap the line and start letting people in at nine. That didn’t happen. I ended up waiting until ten, as advertised, to buy two general admission tickets for The Last Goodbye, LCD Soundsystem’s farewell show. They were 50 bucks a pop, but for three hours of a band that I love and have never seen before? Worth the money, and the cold.

I still can’t feel my toes, though.