Dear LCD Soundsystem,
I remember when you sauntered into my life, all bluster and attitude, name-dropping Daft Punk amid a distinctly rock ‘n’ roll beat. The year was 2005, the month September. “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” was the first song I heard when turning on the soccer video game FIFA 06, and I was hooked. Damn you, James Murphy, with your swagger and your yelps. I had a sweet tooth, and you were my delicious, dance-punk lollipop.
Fast forward a year and a half, as I (legally!) downloaded what became your coup-de-grace album, Sound Of Silver. While “North American Scum” most reminded me of your old sound, it was the bam-bam-bam triplet of “Someone Great”, “All My Friends” and “Us V Them” that made you more than just a band to dance to. You were emotional, you were honest, and you were transcendent. I saw you live for the first time that fall, as a wide-eyed freshman trekking to Brooklyn for the first time to see your show with Arcade Fire. That show solidified my love for you, and I spent the next four years telling anyone who would listen that you were my favorite band.
Then, you broke my heart. You told us that This Is Happening would be your finale, your swan song. I wasn’t ready to be done with you just yet. Yet, somewhere inside, I knew that you were right. There was no better way to end than with an album so perfectly introspective. I know now that it’s not me, it’s you. And that’s the way we both want it. Which brings me to Wednesday, March 30, 2011.
There you were, the third show of your five-show storybook ending. Five performances in six nights, all sold out and all filled with people experiencing similar breakups to mine. We put on a brave face, sure. We danced ourselves clean from the very moment that you came out. Drunk girls (and boys!) were all around, moshing and dancing and throwing glow sticks in the air. You obliged our mood with your most energetic songs, and we got innocuous and felt just a bit too much love for you. But there was a feeling in the air, a feeling of impending sadness. I guess it began when you played “All My Friends.” Quite possibly your best song ever, it reminded us that, shit, this could be the last time. And so you left the stage, with a promise to come back. A promise that, come Saturday night, you won’t be able to keep.
The second set felt like a compromise: Here are songs that we (probably) don’t know but that you love to play. 45:33, “Shame On You” and “Freak Out/Starry Eyes” may have quelled the dancing and moshing and energy, but it was a necessary break. It was you, telling us that there is music aside from the LCD that we know.
Then came the last set. As the clock struck 11 p.m., you threw everything at us (v them). All the hits you hadn’t played yet came roaring with more energy than any song before it. “Someone Great” made us cry (if not literally, then deep inside), while “Movement” made us hurt physically. Every soul in the building sang along to “Yeah” (it’s not that hard), and almost no one sang along to “Losing My Edge” (not that this is a bad thing; there’s just so many lyrics…GIL SCOTT HERON!). The wood blocks that signal the start of “Home” made it hit: LCD, you were breaking up with yourselves and with us, and dammit if you weren’t doing it in style. Every “Ahhh” became a chorus between you and me and everyone around us. We were home at that instant, among the sweat, blood, beer and those damn glow sticks.
You went away with a shy wave, but we knew you had some more in you. Sure enough, you kept us waiting the minimum amount for an encore, before playing the most beautiful rendition of “All I Want” that we could have hoped for. James, you looked so defeated, barely moving as you asked for our pity. We have no pity for you; only love. So much love that we accepted your curve-ball as you segued into a Harry Nilsson cover that makes you “feel good.” We obliged you because we knew what was coming.
“New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” was the only way that this could end. This 10-year story will conclude on Saturday, but on this Wednesday, it ended for a vast majority of us. We fought Ticketmaster, we fought our wallets, we fought the crowds, and we fought the tears. All of that was for that one moment. “Maybe mother told you true, and there’ll always be somebody there for you, and you’ll never be alone.” Mother is right, LCD. Forever, we will have these memories. We’ll miss you. We may move on, but I doubt anyone in attendance at any of your final shows will ever forget what you did for us.
All Your Friends