First, yes, it was criminal to have LCD Soundsystem playing for only an hour and only at 7pm. I'm not sure how you would've reordered the schedule to make it all make sense, but it would've been great to see them on later and longer. They didn't even get to light up their disco ball (which I'd been anticipating since Caribou's set at noon). After LCD's set, they lowered the disco ball and five stagehands unhooked it and carried it offstage, unused.
But what a fucking hour anyway! They played "Us vs Them," "Drunk Girls," "Pow Pow," "Daft Punk is Playing at My House," "I Can Change," "Tribulations," "Movement," "Yeah," and "All My Friends." (I frankly could've done with "All I Want" instead of "Daft Punk.") The band was ridiculously tight, as usual, and the sound was great, although whatever Gavin Russom was doing with those modular synths in the background was pretty hard to make out in the mix. Most of the synth parts I heard seemed to be coming from Nancy Whang's Moog Rogue. Their new guitarist for this tour, David Scott Stone, looks a lot like Jonathan Lethem, but he played a way gnarlier solo on "Tribulations" than Lethem probably could. On "Pow Pow" James Murphy ad libbed some bits here and there. To the line "from this position I can see the whole place" he added something about it being nicer behind the stage (the new stage at the Gorge had a black backdrop rather than a transparent scrim like last year, so you couldn't see the view). After "we have a black president" he said "which is a really exciting thing for a country with a history of racism" instead of doing the "so shut up" rant. He capped one lyric with the digression, "because we write these long meandering songs that don't go anywhere with lyrics that don't match the rhythm." That all sounds like a lot of talk, but it was a fucking barn-burner of a song, with Pat Mahoney muscling the drums and Tyler Pope, behind him, locked in with that loose bass. Mahoney also added a nice double kick part to the end of "Daft Punk." "Movement" started with the whole crowd clapping along and ended in a surge of white noise (those modular synths maybe). "Yeah" was all strobes and percussion jammed the fuck out and that giddy acidy back half. "All My Friends" has somehow lost some of its luster live, at least for me, and here it felt just sort of cumpulsory; again, I would have rather heard "All I Want" for my bittersweet dance rock ballad needs. Painfully abbreviated, but still a fucking fantastic show.
Pavement's set began with birthday wishes for Stephen Malkmus, who from the crowd looked exactly the age he's always looked. "This is kind of a mystery," he said, mysteriously, by way of introduction. Bob Nastanovich (Pavement's own Flavor Flav) put it another way: "pretend you're in Spain and it's really fun!" Okay. They opened with "Cut Your Hair," Malkmus affected just the right lackadaisical smirk, shaking his hips, and later carelessly flinging his guitar around. After two false starts to "Rattled by the Rush," Malkmus apologized, "This is fucking pathetic, I'm sorry. I know we could skip this song." They didn't, and once the song finally got going some kid in the crowd* had a technical difficulty of his own and apparently passed out and/or puked or something; all I could see was a hole form in the crowd and then a bunch of people motioning towards it to get security's attention (Malkmus had dedicated the song to the security). After "In the Mouth of the Desert," Malkmus said, "I tried to sound like Guy Picciotto...did I?" Introducing "Silence Kit," he said "I don't even remember the start of the set anymore." Later, introducing "Spit on a Stranger," he said, "Fuck, I'm sorry, LCD Soundsystem had all this champagne backstage...I feel like a temp with no time to take a break." Which was his way of saying it was his birthday and he was mightily drunk. On "Unfair," he knocked his mic over swinging his guitar around; unrelated, Nastanovich sang one of the verses, screaming. (Nastanovich also got to scream lead, stalking the stage, on "Two States," which Malkmus introduced as "Tube Steaks.") On "Starlings of the Slipstream," Malkmus followed the bit about Vermont and Alaska with a mumbled "I fucked that part up" in place of the next line's lyrics.
It was definitely a show with a lot of rough edges and fuck ups, but the fuck ups really are essential to Pavement's charm, and they've always had a rep for sloppy live shows. They get away with it not just because nostalgia has made them untouchable, but because the songs are just so damn good. And the guys really can play when they're not just trashing things or jamming out with Nastanovich on slide whistle. And anyway, rock and roll needs more fucking up; too much polite professionalism just makes it seem so tame. It was still a nonchalantly triumphant set, and anthems like "Gold Soundz" and "Silence Kit" just felt like massive feel-good jams. Here's what I can make of the set list (which, as Kirby noted, included a few odd deep cuts and one Spiral Stairs song):
"Cut Your Hair"
"Rattled by the Rush"
"Father to a Sister of a Thought"
"In the Mouth of a Desert"
"Date with IKEA"
"Spit on a Stranger"
"Starlings of the Slipstream"
*Possibly one of the World's Two Drunkest Kids(TM), Drunk Boy and Drunk Girl, who were standing/hunching behind me/on me earlier in the set, looking like they might heave or hit the ground at any moment.