At LCD Soundsystem’s last-ever show

One night over a decade ago, I attended a performance at the Pink Pony on the Lower East Side by my cousin Gavin Russom and his then-girlfriend Delia Gonzalez that involved white face paint, Biblical beards, and chants about Y2K and the coming Apocalypse.  It was a strange night, to be honest, and a throwback to the days in New York when all sorts of obscure art happenings were going on that might not be fully understood but reflected a creative ferment that the now-rich and real estate-obsessed city had lost.  As it happens, that nostalgia for the New York that was “filthy but fine” would find an anthem, years later, in the LCD Soundsystem song “New York, I Love You” and Gavin himself would join the band as a keyboardist and all around electronic wizard.  LCD has been on tour for the last year or so, growing in fame along the way from a kind of arty dance-punk outfit to what the New York Times, in a review of LCD’s last-ever show at Madison Square Garden a few days ago, describes as a band “whose place in mythology is secure.”  To my great disappointment, I missed seeing them play in Spain and Italy by a couple of days each, so at MSG I made sure I could say I was there.

Even in their studio recordings, LCD has a between-genres, sing-along quality that is pretty infectious but live they really kicked it and the crowd was dancing and singing their hearts out.  The show opened with a favorite, “Dance Yrself Clean”:

And it ended — nearly four hours later and many guest stars later, including members of Arcade Fire — with “New York, I Love You,” just as it should for a final show held in this city.  Then, a torrent of white balloons fell from the sky and the crowd left the arena to the sound of them being popped.  Many of the fans looked mournful at the prospect that LCD Soundsystem was disbanding but, really, James Murphy and company are just getting started.

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