As the clever hopes expire of a low dishonest decade, there are still fleeting moments of unfettered joy. That is to say, when everything else is bad, LCD Soundsystem’s live show will still be really, really good. It’s the kind of good that preserves itself in amber and makes a home in the deepest chambers of your heart.
But, of course, this isn’t the band’s first time around the block. The last time they played in Detroit they were at the Fillmore, around the block (and over a couple streets) from the Masonic Temple, where they set up shop this past weekend for two nights of dancing, joy and — naturally — a little nostalgia.
The initial reservations that came with the band’s unexpected reunion were that the illusion of immortality that accompanies a resurrection would undermine the urgency their sound was built upon. The worry was that when they closed their set — as they always have and probably always will — singing, “This could be the last time,” it wouldn’t mean anything anymore.
While I’d like to affix my badge of unrelenting faith and say I never worried: I did. But, my worries were proven absurd last weekend when LCD Soundsystem, as deep down I knew they would, gave two of the greatest live performances I might ever be lucky enough to see.
There was a moment on Friday night, between “You Wanted a Hit” and “Tribulations,” where James Murphy looked back at Nancy Whang and the two seemed to share a quick moment of awe. The thrill of their reunion, the illicit audacity of it, hasn’t worn off yet.
That energy translated to the crowd, who pulsed with expectant energy hours before Murphy and company took the stage. And as soon as they did, opening Friday night with american dream opener “Oh Baby” and Saturday with “Us v. Them,” the room exploded.
They still maintain all the trappings — Murphy’s bullet microphone, his periodic assent of an amp, calculated (yet seamless) mid-song instrument rearrangements — that define them as singular both in sound and presentation. No one can throw a party like James Murphy because no one would probably plan a party as meticulously as James Murphy.
The set wound it’s way through the band’s discography, hitting classic concert highlights like “Movement” and “Get Innocuous!” which inspired a small group of punk kids to open up a humble pit.
Their first stop in Detroit since the release of american dream in September, the show was an introduction to the performance-enhanced nuances of tracks like “tonite” and “call the police.” A bop on headphones, “tonite” is elevated to dance-punk platinum live.
Before their post-“pee break” encore, Nancy Whang took over lead vocals for a cover of Chic’s “I Want Your Love” and the band left us with a haunting rendition of Sound of Silver tearjerker “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down,” before coming back for a encore trilogy of hits.
An album and six years older, LCD Soundsystem haven’t lost any of their spark. They matched the crowd beat for beat, feeding off our rhythm as we danced to the one they created. Which is all to say: They still rock.
Maybe the more things change, the more they stay the same. All I know is, LCD Soundsystem is always going to close with “All My Friends” and every time it’s going to lift me up and put me back down again restored, reenergized and re-in love with my friends. And sometimes that’s all the stability I need.