The 5-year LCD Soundsystem bet

28 Mar

LCD Soundsystem is our band, but we’ve never had the chance to see them together*. The last time each of us saw them was the night before we met. We were both there the Saturday of their 2010 ACL show, but wouldn’t meet until the following night on the shuttle home. In a story we’ve told many times, Caitlin played their latest album as she drove me home and “I Can Change” became our song**. A few months later the band announced their final show ever would be April 2nd, 2011 at Madison Square Garden. Caitlin desperately wanted to drop everything and go***. I assured her they wouldn’t be retired long and bet her they’d be back within five years. The bet was that if they did return within five years, she’d pay our way to the first show back. If not, I’d take her to any show she wanted and pay our way. The bet finally came to a head this weekend.

*This always blows my mind a little bit.

**They are seriously such a huge part of our meeting and connection — I didn’t even OWN This Is Happening until after their performance on Saturday, when I went straight to the Waterloo tent and picked up a copy. Serendipity, indeed.

***My concert guru Melissa DID drop everything and go. Since I’d been recently laid off, I just didn’t have the capital to make it happen.

shutupplayhitsWe still treated that MSG show like it would be their last show ever. We watched the live stream and Caitlin cried*. We went to a screening of the film they made of the concert, “Shut Up and Play the Hits,” at SXSW with guest star Reggie Watts in attendance. We bought the blu-ray of it and even splurged for the 5-LP vinyl package. We saw James Murphy DJ at a club in Austin and saw LCD Soundsystem cover band “All My Friends” half a dozen times. I had them** play in our apartment for our engagement and then we had them play our wedding for our first dance and then an hour and a half more for a dance party. But we had yet to see LCD Soundsystem together in all their glory.

*We did NOT, however, watch the live stream together. If I recall, Zack might have been working or something, so I went to my friend Raquel’s apartment and we danced around her room, jumping on her bed and sweating it out while watching the whole thing from a live stream through her TV. During “All My Friends,” Mel called me and my phone didn’t ring so I got to have a voicemail saving that little memento for a long time.

**The cover band, that is.


The rumors started up last fall that LCD would play Coachella as their first show back. The label denied it and denied it and then it became fact. That would put their first show back at April 15th, 2016. Five years and two weeks after they last played, making Caitlin the winner of the bet by a fortnight. We agreed we had to get passes and fly to California for the first weekend of the fest to see their first show back. Our wristbands arrived in the mail last week, we booked a flight and a rental car and just ordered a tent. We’re all set to go, but last week they announced two warm-up shows in New York on March 27th and 28th. Of course, Caitlin being the dedicated rock fan she is wanted to fly us to NYC last minute to go to the two shows*. I had to be the fun police** and insist we not drop thousands of dollars to make the shows with Coachella less than three weeks away.

*I am also a woman of honor. A bet is a bet, so I was going to try and find a way to pay for Zack and I to be in attendance of this NYC show.

**AKA the sensible one who tries to keep us on track for either moving to Ireland or buying a house before we turn 40.

We couldn’t justify cashing in our tax refunds to go, but I did find a Periscope of the show before I went to sleep and had to share the live stream with Caitlin. I had been in bed and she was preparing a bath, so I opened the bedroom door and headed to her bathroom, phone in hand. She heard a door open, was nervous that someone was in the apartment so she came out to the living room from the rock garden completely naked as I was peeking into her bathroom. I was surprised to not see her in there and wheeled around as we both completely startled each other. Even Scooby was frightened by the whole exchange*. But once we settled down, we watched a couple minutes of the stream to confirm they were in fact back and sounding as perfect as ever. Four years and 359 days later. I won the five-year bet by six days. I didn’t cash it in to go to NY this weekend, but I’m sure we’ll go somewhere fun for it.

*There was a lot of screaming. It probably would have been hilarious to an onlooker.


It ended up being even better for us that Coachella wasn’t their first show back. According to Brooklyn Vegan’s recap of the show, our song “I Can Change” was supposed to be song #2, but the custom-built synth was not behaving. Or as Nancy Whang put it, “This is why we have warm-up shows..” So hopefully they’ll get the kinks worked out while we count down 18 more days until we get to “dance ourselves clean” to LCD together. We may have missed the warm-up, but we sure as hell will dance our asses off at the real deal.



One Response to “The 5-year LCD Soundsystem bet”

  1. Laila April 18, 2016 at 5:35 am #

    I loved reading this! I feel like I also got a snapshot into your lives at home (love picturing the screaming, startling moment complete with a confused Scooby). I love LCD Soundsystem, I feel like there was a lot of LCD on the UK festival circuit back in the late noughties and I’ve seen them a bunch of times, but with no memory of which festival or which year (music festivals always go like that, don’t they). Also that’s crazy you were at the same gig without knowing each other! I don’t think I remember reading about that if it’s been mentioned here before xx

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