I nearly missed, I must confess. Had it not been for the urge of seeing Shut Up and Play the Hits that, at regular intervals, comes to haunt me I’d have probably missed it altogether (and you’d have escaped this post, possibly).
What’s that, you say? Well, four years – and two days, let us not forget the two bloody days – LCD Soundsystem played their last gig. It was April 2nd, 2011, when they put together some three hours of show in New York’s Madison Square Garden. It started with Dance Yrself Clean, it ended with New York I love You But You’re Bringing Me Down, and I listened to it all. On a shitty streaming back then, many times ever since.
I followed LCD Soundsystem since 2005, and they marked my university years. I walked some 6 kms from the train station to the place where enrollments were recorded listening to their debut albums and, still now, Tribulations reminds me of that long, long, walk. I had Sound of Silver on for pretty much the entire 2008 and I remember signing up to Myspace only to catch up with James’ updates on the progress of This Is Happening. I saw them live, I saw them live for free, and I saw them live introducing Daft Punk. And I saw them live while drinking vodka lemon from a 2-liter bottle of water that we had prepared earlier, two each, because you know that alcohol is the best thing when it’s hot outside.
Their last gig took place when I was about to finish my last postgraduate (yeah, I liked them so much that I did two of them). Soon the period of inter-week drinking, cycling to lessons still pissed from the day before, going out for a jog at 10 in the morning and not knowing how to knot a tie would’ve ended. I found myself a job, inherited a bunch of debts and set off trying to repay them. Before I could do all that, though, LCD Soundsystem consensually split up, ending their career.
For a while I was angry at them for deciding to call it a day. I didn’t want them to call them a day. I wanted a fourth album. I wanted to see them live again. I wanted to see them introducing Daft Punk again, or Kraftwerk, or both. I remember going to a DJ set that Murphy and Pat Mahoney did, it was somewhere near the Elephant & Castle roundabout before some twat came up with the idea of nicknaming it Silicon Roundabout, and I remember hating him, Murphy. Surely splitting up the LCD must’ve been his idea. I hated the whole DJ set.
But then I realized that, by splitting up then, at that precise moment, they’d done me a favour. Firstly, they didn’t put me through the misery of putting out a big, shiny lemon of a record, one of those that they have to play at gigs and that leaves you thinking Oh please get over with it quickly and get back to the hits. Secondly, because they stopped right at the time when I stopped being a student, and if anyone tells you that working life is better than student life, well, he’s a big fat liar.
LCD Soundsystems quitted as I quitted being a student (I can’t say they did it on purpose, but it was a lucky coincidence). Therefore they will always be linked to those magical days and I’ll never run the risk of associating their new record to, say, the day I delivered a presentation to the board, sweaty palms and mouth as dry as the Sonoran desert. Because that would be too fucking sad.