By Billy Eisenberg
James Murphy wrote down one final statement on the flyer that announced his band, LCD Soundsystem, would be playing their final concert at Madison Square Garden in their home, New York City. It read:
“If this is a funeral, let’s make it the best funeral ever.”
With them playing at an arena and ending their career on the incredible note that they did, I knew I needed to see the documentary “Shut Up and Play the Hits” when I had a chance. Luckily, the Westcott Theater in Syracuse gave me that opportunity. They screened the film Tuesday, the day it was released.
This obviously wasn’t the typical go-to-the-movie-theater-and-watch-a-movie night. It took place at a concert venue. The lights were dimmed, the volume was cranked, and a disco ball hung near the screen. Chairs stood in the main area, but people didn’t always remain in them. During the performance portions of the movie, people got up from their chairs and started dancing. They gave standing ovations after the good songs. The audience members drank throughout, and the idea of being quiet during a movie went happily by the wayside.
This film brought to mind The Band’s “The Last Waltz.” Like that movie, it focused on the frontman, in this case Murphy, highlighting certain songs throughout a final concert. It also took in all sides of the frontman, as The interview with Chuck Klosterman exacted some candid answers from Murphy, and the director even filmed Murphy going into the studio after the performance crying.
The concert portion included great tracks such as “Dance Yourself Clean,” “All My Friends,” and “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down.” Special guests included Reggie Watts on “Sound of Silver” and Arcade Fire on “North American Scum.” The film also showed the band cover Harry Nilsson’s “Jump Into the Fire.”
If you are a fan of the band LCD Soundsystem, I highly recommend seeing this movie. You really get an inside look at the band, the entire process leading up to their final show, and even the aftermath. It has everything from laughs with Stephen Colbert to tears as the band hugs one another goodbye. I don’t know if this was the best funeral ever, but it was a pretty damn good one.