“The time has come / the time has come / the time has come today,” sung LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy at Agganis Arena on Friday night.
They were the fitting first lyrics at their sold-out show, where the dance-rock band delivered an electrifying two-hour set filled with both old and new tracks. Fans filled the Agganis seats, but the most energy was undoubtedly in the standing-room only pit — poorly named, perhaps, as hardly anyone stood still through the performance.
The last time the group played Boston was in 2010 at the Orpheum Theater, and in 2011, they played their supposedly-last-show-ever at Madison Square Garden and disbanded.
In the interim, each band member went their own way, involving themselves in various side projects. Fan demand for new music remained, and in 2016, they reunited at Coachella, before releasing their new album “American Dream” in September of 2017.
The Juan MacLean, the DJ of the night, opened the concert, serving up a wide-ranging array of dance music, but he was instantly overshadowed when the main act took the stage. The concert began with a striking drum solo from Pat Mahoney, before Murphy joined in with vocals on “Us V Them” from their 2007 album “Sound of Silver.”
The mere size of the band means there is always a flurry of activity on stage. Band members run between elaborate synths, percussion instruments, guitars and cowbells to create the eclectic sound that the group is known for.
The Boston gig was their final concert before going to New York for 10 sold-out concerts in Brooklyn.
Despite touring on their new album, only five tunes on their 17-song setlist were from “American Dream.” The crowd was most enthusiastic when the group brought out their time-honored hits spanning their 12-year discography.
“Tribulations” and “Movement,” both from their eponymous debut album, spurred crowd sing-alongs.
LCD Soundsystem is distinctly alternative, and not just in their sound. Before the show began, the arena’s screens were filled with a message from the band: “This is Boston, not LA, so put your camera phones away. If you’re filming us then you’re missing the show … and distracting the old guy who’s trying to sing songs at you.”
In the age of Trump, many artists make their political sentiment clear, and this band no different. Keyboardist Nancy Whang had “resist” engraved on her keyboard.
In “Call the Police,” Murphy sings “Wear your makeup like a man,” in a take on traditional gender roles. This strikes close to home for the band, as their synth player Gavin Russom recently came out as transgender.
Given the fact that the band has aged and the significant gap between album releases, the fans at the show leaned towards an older demographic for a rock concert. The ever self-aware band satirized themselves with t-shirts at the merchandise stand reading, “My middle-aged friend saw LCD Soundsystem and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.”
For a band with “soundsystem” in their name, one would expect a resounding auditory experience, and the group delivered, so much so that audience members must have had trouble hearing for an hour after the concert.
The concert experience was not limited to music alone — the band boasted an impressive light show, complete with a massive disco ball that evoked memories of the 1970s. Each song had a distinct lighting scheme that complemented the ever-changing rhythm of synths and drums.
“We’re going to leave and go to the bathroom and stuff — and then, regardless of what you do, we’re going to come back and play more songs,” Murphy said before a brief intermission. “You don’t have to cheer. Save your voices for your families.”
When the band returned, they were brimming with energy as they played two songs from their new album, “oh baby” and “emotional haircut.”
Finally, the night reached its climax as they launched into “Dance Yrself Clean,” a hit from their 2010 album “This Is Happening.” As the song reached its pinnacle, the crowd jumped in unison and Agganis Arena’s rafters were tested. It was clear that, despite the years away from music, the band had not lost its step.
The final lyrics of the show were just as fitting as the first. “If I could see all my friends tonight,” Murphy repeated to open the song, “All My Friends.” After an extended absence from Boston, there were 7,500 friends singing along in unison with him.