Last April, electro-alt-dance-rockers LCD Soundsystem called it a day. James Murphy and friends decided to go out with a bang, hosting one last gig on the biggest stage in the entertainment world – NYC’s Madison Square Garden. The show lasted almost four hours, and was filmed for a concert video that is set to debut at the Sundance festival in a few days.
This is the trailer for Shut Up And Play The Hits.
Concert recordings are a tricky proposition. They’re difficult to produce from a technical perspective, because there’s so many variables in play. Video (like photography) is about capturing light, but the audience is typically in the dark, making them hard to film without turning up the house lights. Live sound in concert venues (even a venerated shed like MSG) can be finicky. The interplay between artist and audience is impossible to contrive – if the band’s not on, the fans won’t dig it. And on this particular night, the band was working without a net or a fall harness – you can only do one ‘last ever gig’ (unless you’re The Who). Through the magic of technology, screw-ups are preserved forever.
Then there’s the whole issue of trying to tell a story about the band – the best documentaries seek to find a narrative that ties the whole experience together. Otherwise the video is just a static, visual representation of what went on that night. The stories give the gig some added depth, a greater resonance.
Based on this trailer, and James Murphy’s unique perspective on making music, this concert documentary could be wonderful. I hope it gets a nice blu-ray public release. I’d love to see how the band pulls off playing some of those songs live. Daft Punk Is Playing At My House, Losing My Edge, Disco Infiltrator, Get Innocuous!, Someone Great, Sound of Silver, Dance Yrself Clean, Pow Pow – those are the ‘hits’ that I hope they shut up and play.