Walking up to Webster Hall on Easter Sunday to a marque reading, “Please Stand By, Test In Progess” set the tone for what was to transpire inside. LCD Soundsystem made a very big deal out of their retirement back in 2011. Their “last” show was on April 2nd, 2011 at legendary New York City landmark venue Madison Square Garden and was a grand affair featuring many high profile guests and was filmed and released as a film and 28 track career defining live album. It seemed like the band was indeed done and had moved on until rumors started bubbling to the surface late last year. Back in January it was confirmed that the band was indeed reunited for some big festival dates and was in the throws of recording a brand new album. All of this was big news to the band’s rabid fanbase. And the cherry on top was announced last Thursday, the band’s first gigs reunited would be at the classic, intimate NYC venue Webster Hall! Tickets were next to impossible.
Inside, the audience was visibly excited to be in attendance for this “resurrection”, as the band was jokingly calling it in their promotional posters (making a very sly tongue in cheek reference to the Easter holiday). A DJ got the crowd whipped up and ready for the main course and as the band took the stage, actually very nonchalantly. The DJ’s music faded down as the band started the evening’s retirement breaking “Get Innocuous.” The energy in the room erupted as the song built and built until the drums dropped in and the room just exploded with joy. LCD Soundsystem were back, sounding tight and very well rehearsed, and obviously eating up all of the energy in the room. As the band tried to move into the next song, which was supposed to be “I Can Change,” the evening’s first of many technical difficulties arose. Apparently the band had constructed a gigantic synth to debut at this show, which worked great during soundcheck, but failed quick into the set. The amazing thing was, no roadies ran onto the stage, the band’s leader James Murphy casually stopped all of the musicians and worked on it himself. It was at this moment when it all made sense, we were witnessing the true rebirth of LCD and all of the hurdles that it includes. We were not only watching the band being reborn, we were there with them in the process. We cheered when the technical problems were overcome and all of us, including the band, got back to the matter at hand, to dance and let go.
As the show continued, everything just felt right. The audience was joyously singing along with every word of every song. It felt like a house party full of friends welcoming an old friend back to town. The biggest highlight of the night was the band’s most avant garde song, “Losing My Edge.” Murphy sang it with so much passion, it felt as if he might just burst as he was, at times, screaming the hook with reckless abandon. The same energy was introverted during the set’s closer” New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” as everyone listened with quiet, passionate, contemplative intensity as the song’s reflective lyrics poured out onto the stage. You could feel the realness of this night expressed pretty explicitly in this tune.
The encore was a one, two punch of energy starting with “Dance Yrself Clean” and concluding with the all too appropriate “All My Friends.” The lyrics kind of told the story of the evening:
“That’s how it starts
We go back to your house
We check the charts
And start to figure it out
And if it’s crowded, all the better
Because we know we’re gonna be up late
But if you’re worried about the weather
Then you picked the wrong place to stay
That’s how it starts”
The night was about what music is about, people coming together, celebrating joy and experiencing it together in the same room. Bless you James Murphy and LCD Soundsystem, the world needs more of you.