“I’ve waited 7 years and 15 days,” but I finally had the opportunity to see LCD Soundsystem live. And OMG! I cannot believe I am using it as an expression, but seriously, OMFG!
Camélia and I saw them in Philadelphia at Franklin Music Hall. We had never seen the venue, so we had no idea what to expect. When we walked up, we saw the backside of the building. It looked like an old factory, warehouse, or office building. (It was once part of the General Electric Switchgear Plant.) We had to cut through an opening in a fence, which led into the parking lot. Yes, I thought. Very appropriate. We stood in line outside for a few minutes—it was cold, windy, and flurrying—but then we went in.
We planned to get there at about 8:30, halfway through the opener set, so we would not have to stand around waiting. I didn’t think many people would be there yet. Wrong. The place was packed. I wanted to go down to the floor, but I knew we had to do the important things first: coat check, look at the merch table, and use the restroom.
I led Camélia down to the front. In my twenties, I was great at this. My body was flexible and agile, and I could weave through the crowd and make it to the front without touching anyone. In my forties, I am not as smooth. But we got it done, and even with a standing room capacity of 2500 to 3000 people, we found a spot near the front! Three or four people deep.
Although it was not the most diverse group of fans I’ve ever seen, there was a good range of ages, which was cool. The opening DJ, Zillas on Acid, was on fire and set the mood. Check out Tiga’s “Easy,” if you can find it anywhere. However, when the clock on stage read 9:15, the audience began getting antsy. Crew members checked the drums and the guitars. A cheer went up, but no performing members came out.
I looked at my wife. She’s a great partner for me. More times than not, she just goes along for the ride. In 2018, I wanted to see LCD Soundsystem in Brooklyn. I tried to find someone to go with me, but we were adults with jobs or doctoral students with no money. However, on March 28, 2022, my beautiful wife and I were there. Near the stage. Ready to dance. And she helped make it happen.
“I can’t handle the wait,” I said.
“I know,” she said. “When are they going to come out?”
I did not know what to expect. I hoped I would turn and see James Murphy up on the DJ’s perch. Or that the DJ might lead into an LCD Soundsystem song. Who knew? They might just appear. Magic. Is any of this real? I mean, what is life? And what makes these moments stand out?
“I can’t believe how excited I am,” Camélia said.
Why do I worry about whether she is having fun? I know she will; she just wants me to be happy. But here I am, at another show, feeling so much anxiety.
“Oh my god! There they are!” They walked onto the stage like it was just another day. However, to me…
“Yr City’s a Sucker” was the opening song. It was slow, but I loved the rhythm and was happy they were playing. I found myself singing along.
Am I one of those guys? Should I shut up? My thoughts questioned what I was doing, but I did not stop. My instinct screamed, ENJOY THE FUCKING SHOW!!!
Mr. James Murphy addressed the crowd. He had lived in Philadelphia and was happy to play there. “I Can Change” was the next song. After it started, he said that something in the equipment or sound was making his teeth vibrate, and it hurt. Then, there was a lot of feedback. When the song was over, I told Camélia, “I thought he was going to lose it.”
During “Thrills,” I realized what Post-Punk meant. I know that statement sounds stupid because it’s a term I use frequently. However, being at a show…bouncing…where’s the mosh pit? I wasn’t angry, but I needed to release my aggression. The lights flashing…am I going to have a seizure? Even though I am out of shape and older, I wanted to throw my body around. Recklessly.
“They played that on SNL,” I told Camélia.
“Daft Punk Is Playing at My House” was followed by “Time to Get Away.” But I was still thinking too much. God, why can’t I get out of my head?
“On Repeat” and its build definitely started getting me in the moment.
Don’t tell nobody what, what you really want because
They can tell everybody else what you really want
Then you’re fucked, so act like it’s for yourself or it’s all yours
And they go and tell everybody else that you’re really great
We are just people
That was fucking intense.
I looked over at the clock. 10:08. Because I was born on 10/8, it’s what I call my birthday time. “You Wanted a Hit.” Yes. I said something to Camélia and then texted my son to tell him. OMG! This is my life. It is why I love this band. Every time I finish a new book or short story, I feel like this. To add to my birthday time gift, they “jammed” into “Tribulations.” It was the only one in the entire show and perfect for me. “Everybody makes mistakes/But it seems it’s mine that always keeps on stingin’.”
Thank you, James Murphy and LCD Soundsystem, for being the voice for artists like me who continually try to find a career but struggle to get respect from those who could lift us.
“Yes,” I scream.
“It’s like a fat guy in a T-shirt/Doing all the saying/It’s like a couple dads and a few friends/Trying hard to stay in.”
Yes. The Post-Punk. I was bouncing hard and had to hold on to my wife so that I wouldn’t hurt her or myself.
I was sweating and gross.
“Tonite” slowed it for a song. But then they played “Emotional Haircut,” and “Someone Great.”
The highlight of the show was “Losing My Edge.” One of my all-time favorite songs, probably in the top ten. I was in that moment, and this memory is tucked back in my mind. It will be one of those that come forward near the end of my life, the perfection that will help me level up. (Here is a taste from their 3/31 show.)
The next song was “Home.” More perfection.
Back to my thoughts. Can I make it through more songs? I was tired; my legs were weak, and my shirt was drenched.
They came back out. “Get Innocuous!!!” Another one of my favorites. “Dance Yrself Clean,” a fan favorite! “New York, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down,” a slow one, but I was grateful for that. The final song, “All of My Friends,” was the first LCD Soundsystem song that I knew. It led me to them, and for a short period of my life, “You spent the first five years trying to get with the plan/And the next five years trying to be with your friends again,” was my mantra. Sending us out with that song was the perfect way to end the night. Well, that and going home to sleep next to my wife.