All-Weather LCD Soundsytem
Consecutive nights united by one continuous party
By Abby Johnston,
4:55PM, Thu. Nov. 2, 2017
On Halloween night, Jesus, a human-sized hot dog, and hundreds of other costumed millennials shivered in the rain at Circuit of the Americas. Twenty-four hours later, a noticeably older crowd sipped wine inside ACL Live at the Moody Theater, where the only inclement weather was a fog machine. LCD Soundsystem attracts a blanketing demographic.
Fans tend to treat any LCD show like it’s their last. Six years ago, James Murphy told the world that retirement was putting to rest a lifetime of musical obsession. The release of fourth LP American Dream in September and a slew of tour dates to support it should reassure everyone that the New Yorkers are back, but there remains a palpable sense of both anxiety and elation at the band’s shows.
The former of those emotions peaked Tuesday, when rain pushed the show back 30 minutes. Equipment onstage found coverage with help from someone in an inflatable sumo wrestler outfit, but fans waited in the unchecked rain. This fed a sense a panic.
What if the concert’s canceled?
At 9:30pm, just as the rain let up, James Murphy and company made a gentle introduction with American Dream’s “Oh Baby.” By the opening line of the second song, “Daft Punk Is Playing at my House,” ponchos flew off and the soggy gathering began drying out as they danced with abandon. At that point, it had been worth the wait.
Both performances, 90 minutes each, struck a perfectly healthy balance between beloved hits from LCD’s decade-long career and material from the new disc, which parties less fervently than 2007 predecessor Sound of Silver. Taping an Austin City Limits episode last night, the group led with two American Dream tracks, Murphy reassuring the packed house that his crew wouldn’t simply be playing all new material. Bass-heavy hit “Get Innocuous!” launched an early crowd favorite both nights, and ditto for the electronic glitch of “Tribulations,” which came capped off by a shredding guitar solo.
Even so, the new material landed. The charging bass and cathartic guitar solo of “Call the Police” made for a galvanizing moment live, and the quirky, digitized lead of “Tonite” translated into seven people onstage layering all sorts of sounds, including cowbells and free-wheeling synth quips. For all of the dance-worthy electronic bangers, however, LCD adds up to much more than a party soundtrack.
Their stilling moments make fans for life, so there were tears both nights during “Someone Great,” Murphy’s ode to people we’ve lost. And when a familiar staccato piano riff brought final song “All My Friends” to life, people immediately grabbed the person they came with and began to sing both back to the stage and to each other. It’s a testament to Murphy’s songwriting and a thoughtful, nuanced delivery from a band that could easily rely on backing tracks for much of the electronic-based parts of their catalog.
Looking around the Moody in moments like those, there was no doubt that the crowd would have waited out in the rain to experience LCD Soundsytem.