LCD Soundsystem’s final show at Madison Square Garden in 2011 was the kind of concert performance that becomes an instant legend in the minds of music fans, and much of that legendary stature also comes from the fact that it was, at the time, the “last LCD show ever.” Frontman James Murphy announced before the show that it would be the final LCD performance (before the group’s reunion in 2016), which led to MSG selling out in only minutes. However, several recent interviews with the singer have implied that the decision was hardly a calculated one—rather, Murphy says it was a split-second choice to end the band at that point, seemingly brought on by frustrations regarding the MSG show, which promoters didn’t think was going to sell well.
“My theory was, if I make it our last show, we’ll sell it out in two weeks,” Murphy said to the New York Times. “It wasn’t a total lark, but it was a bit larky. But I like making decisions. I find it easy.”
He then reiterated pretty much the same story in an interview with Vulture:
“We had booked this Madison Square Garden show and then realized the show’s promoters had no faith in us. They were trying to come up with big-name openers for us because they didn’t think we could sell out the place by ourselves. One of the openers they suggested was Big Boi from OutKast. Why on earth would Big Boi open for us? Big Boi was in one of the biggest, most important hip-hop — no, one of the biggest and most important acts of all time. It didn’t make any sense. But behind that idea was the promoters’ belief that we just weren’t going to sell any tickets unless there [was] some extra element. So I got mad on the phone with them about it. I was like, ‘Well, how about it’s our last fucking show?’ And I hung up the phone. Then I was like, I guess that’ll be our last show then.”
Impulsive and emotional, but it certainly made for a memorable “final performance.” And it does seem that Murphy learned a little something from the event, as in the same piece he says that he’ll never announce a break-up of the band again in advance. The next dissolution of LCD Soundsystem won’t be nearly so dramatic.
“For the rest of my life, now matter what happens in this band, we’ll never ‘break up’ again. One day we’ll just stop making music, but no one is going to say a fucking word about it ahead of time.”
We’d tell you to keep an eye on LCD Soundsystem for when that happens, except for the fact that you’ll probably never be able to tell when it does. Best to just enjoy the band while they’re still gracing us with their creative output. Their upcoming album American Dream is out Sept. 1 on DFA Records and Columbia Records.