As reunion tours go, LCD Soundsystem wouldn’t have had a more accepting crowd than they got Sunday night (July 24) on Randall’s Island at the final evening of NYC’s inaugural Panorama Festival. And per reunion tour protocol — and the band’s own as well — they shut up and played the hits.
“We’re trying to get through as many songs as we can tonight,” frontman James Murphy said early on in the set, ostensibly as a way to ward off any expectations of between-song statements. Accordingly, LCD got right down to it by delivering a set that simultaneously gave fans what they wanted to see, paid tribute to their fallen brethren, and also promised much more to come.
Opening with “Us Vs. Them,” Murphy and co. got right to it, and the leading man made it a point to repeatedly make sure that the crowd knew the names of his band members. “Daft Punk Is Playing In My House,” as the second song made it clear (if it wasn’t already) that the band was wasting no time. As the blazing heat finally started to subside, marginally at least, and the city skyline beckoned downtown, the group ran through “You Wanted a Hit,” while the driving beat of “Movement” then bled into the lose-your-voice-screaming cut “Yeah” — a signature LCD song if only because it seems the simplest combination of the group’s patented complex-yet-still-insanely-simple-and-danceable formula.
“Someone Great,” from their magnum opus (in this writer’s opinion, at least) Sound of Silver, erupted into a massive dance jam before making way for Murphy’s first hit, “Losing My Edge.” It’s that song that, even now, encapsulates LCD’s penchant for casual, off-kilter lyrical delivery while still maintaining its dedication to impossibly tight grooves; dissonance combined with driving beats, a laissez-faire attitude tempered by a meticulous dedication to pushing the beat forward.
But again, it was LCD Soundsystem — New York’s own, after all — on a late Sunday night outdoors in NYC, and on a comeback run, no less. So the final few songs, while no less vital, were predictable: the plaintive singalong “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” and “Dance Yrself Clean” were both welcome reminiscences as the clock creeped toward cutoff. The group made space for “Bye Bye Bayou,” a cover of the late Suicide singer Alan Vega’s, which they had released in 2009, before finishing with a triumphant “All My Friends.”
LCD Soundsystem officially announced their return with the comeback show back on Easter Sunday. But as the weekend, and Panorama itself, came to a close, it was hard to think of a more fitting act to soundtrack it.