Sprung on us just last week, LCD Soundsystem’s instantly sold-out shows at Webster Hall on Sunday and Monday were warmups for their much-hyped reunion appearances at festivals like Coachella, Bonnarroo, and Panorama. But last night, the band didn’t warm up so much as it blazed through crowdpleasers like “Daft Punk Is Playing at My House” and “Us v Them.” Frontman James Murphy announced in January that a new record was forthcoming “sometime this year,” but they didn’t play anything off of it, instead choosing to, well, shut up and play the hits.
Okay, they didn’t shut up entirely. As he launched into “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down,” Murphy asked an audience member to turn off his phone’s “distracting” flash. “There’s a button on the right-hand side that says Flash Off,” Murphy told the flasher between verses. “It’s not even effective, because there’s all these lights.” The crowd cheered as Murphy ad-libbed the next line: “New York I love you, but you’re pissing me off.”
Safe to say everyone else in the house was just fine with New York at that moment. We spotted Aziz Ansari and Jamie Bochert on the balcony, and Blind Barber was Periscoping up front. Everyone was pretty much in lockstep with the band, pogoing to tunes like “Dance Yrself Clean” so excitedly that the balcony bounced up and down and it was impossible to get a non-shaky photo (sorry, Instagram). For a minute there, I thought the whole place was going to pull a Mercer Arts Center.
During “Losing My Edge,” as Murphy sang about losing his edge to those “art-school Brooklynites in little jackets,” a guy who looked like he was in his late 20s or early 30s turned to me and said, “You realize he’s making fun of all of us, right?”
Eh, I don’t know about that. Before closing with “All My Friends,” Murphy said the last two nights had been “heartwarming,” and said, “Thank you very much for singing along because I’m fucked.”
But even if songs like “Losing My Edge” are more about Murphy than his audience, point taken that it would’ve been edgier to be at Sunnyvale or Gold Sounds that night, discovering the next LCD rather than watching the owner of a Williamsburg wine bar hold forth about the “neighborhood bars I once dreamt I would drink” (Murphy replaced that line with an ad-lib too, though I couldn’t make out what, exactly, he said.) But, fuck it, one day I’ll be saying, “I was there in 2016, when LCD played ‘Sound of Silver’ for the first time in five years.”
After the show, the band and their friends and family (let it be known that Nancy Whang’s mom can hang) partied down in a VIP room off of the balcony. That’s where I got a gander at that amazing cake, created by DJ turned baker to the stars Justine D. It was a disco ball as impressive– and no doubt tastier– as the gigantic one hanging over the dance floor. Which, by the way, got a ton of Instagram love. Derek Blasberg was particularly fond of it.
If “you wanted a hit” but weren’t one of the lucky or well-connected few who got a dose of them Sunday or Monday, LCD returns for Panorama Festival on July 24, and today added some new dates to its international tour slate. Get on it and dance yrself clean.