I walked into the Masonic Temple with higher expectations than I’ve ever had for a concert. I stood with the other fans, eager to dance themselves clean to LCD Soundsystem, and I noticed the odd construction of the stage. From left to right in the front of the stage: three guitars, two tables with synthesizers, a Sennheiser MD 409 U 3 microphone on a mic stand (Google it, it looks cool), a stand with cowbells of varying sizes and toms with a cup full of drumsticks, and a drum set. All these instruments were lined up alongside each other, nothing in front of the others. Elevated in the back were stands with synthesizers, xylophones, bongos, and more cowbells. These instruments were constructed in a circle to emphasize the familial aspect of the band - no member is more important than the rest.
During the entire show, LCD Soundsystem interacted with each other both verbally and non-verbally. Lead singer James Murphy would often share looks of excitement with Nancy Whang, synth operator, and Al Doyle, guitarist. And each member would whisper to each other between songs, as the audience was roaring in front of them.
The set was crafted perfectly. The concert swelled and lulled all at just the right moments. They started with their song “oh baby,” a chaotic swell of emotions and excitement. As the song hit its climax at the 2/3 mark, a giant disco ball was illuminated that lit up the entire venue. From there they moved on to the rock noise of “Daft Punk is Playing at My House,” and on to their other classic dance/rock songs. The loud chaos of the set was punctuated by more calm, poignant songs like “You Wanted a Hit,” “Someone Great,” and “Home.”
After wrapping up with “New York, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down,” Murphy announced to the crowd, “We’re just going to go to the bathroom right now, and then we’re going to come back out and play more songs. So, like, don’t think we’re not going to play some songs, because we still are.” This was a refreshing approach to an encore; a trope in concerts that is becoming more and more tiresome and seemingly self-indulgent. Sure, they still had an encore, but it didn’t feel like one.
When they came back out, they played through a new song, “emotional haircut,” before going into what most people had been waiting for the whole night. As Al Doyle started playing that familiar beat on the bongos, the crowd cheered for LCD Soundsystem’s biggest hit, “Dance Yrself Clean.” Murphy sang about social anxieties and existentialism over synths and bongos, which suggested something bigger coming. As Pat Mahoney struck his snare, the entire crowd jumped for LCD Soundsystem’s most signature beat drop. After nine minutes of dancing, this crowd was primed for “All My Friends.” Murphy led a mass sing-along of their final song, leaving their concert as a true group-effort.
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