LCD Soundsystem were only three songs into their headline set on the Other Stage at Glastonbury tonight when I first realised I had tears in my eyes. It was during ‘I Can Change’, sometime during the second chorus of “Never change”, and James Murphy’s heartbreaking plea “I can change, I can change, I can change, I can change” didn’t exactly help matters.
Just like the last time they’d played on this stage in 2010, shortly before their temporary departure, they’d opened with ‘Us v Them’, although that song was added an extra poignancy by the prevailing political climate this weekend.
Sadly – unlike 2010, one of the very few Glastonbury’s to enjoy a rainless weekend – fans found themselves trying to ‘dance themselves clean’ in deep mud. Early in the set, James Murphy paid tribute to the crowd’s stamina. “We know it’s Sunday and you’ve fought the good fight for seven days,” he said. “By all rights you could just lie down and we’ll play for you. We know you’re tired, but thank you for giving us a lot of love. We’re not tired, so we’ll do our best for you.”
That moment aside, Murphy rarely addressed the crowd – preferring to, as he famously put it, ‘shut up and play the hits’. They gave us ‘Daft Punk Is Playing At My House’ early in the set, as well as thrilling versions of ‘Get Innocuous!’ and ‘Tribulations’.
It was, predictably, ‘Someone Great’ when I next found myself welling up. The same year that LCD last played was the same year that The Flaming Lips headlined the Other Stage, and only their encore of ‘Do You Realize??’ can match ‘Someone Great’ for balancing euphoric music with the sheer emotional weight of talking honestly about grief, loss and death.
They followed that directly with ‘Losing My Edge’, the first song Murphy ever wrote for LCD Soundsystem and still sounding just as funny, frank and relevant as the day he did. It was only afterwards that Murphy addressed the crowd again, looking overwhelmed by the love and appreciation the crowd were showing for his music. “We’ve been trying to play as much music as we can because we have a set time,” he explained. “We’d stand up here and chat shit if we could, but we want to play you as much music as we can.”
The audience had no complaints with that policy as he led them in swooning ballad ‘New York I Love You But I’m Bringing You Down’ and ‘Dance Yrself Clean’. They closed – inevitably, irresistibly, perfectly – with ‘All My Friends’. It was one of those moments that Glastonbury is built for. In front of a field full of friends – new and old – arm in arm, Murphy closed Glastonbury 2016 with the question: “Where are your friends tonight?” Right here in this field. Right here on the stage. LCD Soundsystem are back, and we’re all blessed to have friends like these.