Shut Up and Play the Hits

 

Shut Up and Play the Hits

LCD SoundSystem: The Farewell Concert

Madison Square Garden, April 2, 2011

Director of Photography by Reed Morano

Music by LCD SoundSystem

Edited by Mark Burnett

Executive Producer: The Creators Project, Christine Vachon & Keith Wood

Produced by Lucas Ochoa, Thomas Benski & James Murphy

Directed by Dylan Southern & Will Lovelace

Theatrical release: 2012

 

Featuring:

James Murphy

Chuck Klosterman

Keith Wood

 

Production Studio:

Theatrical: Pulse Films

Video: Oscilloscope Laboratories

 

Video:

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC

Disc Size: BD50 x 3

Feature Size: 33.87 GB

Bit Rate: High (36-40 Mbps)

Feature Runtime: 109 minutes

Concert Runtime: 214 minutes

Feature Chapters: 23

Region: All

 

Audio

English DTS-HD MA 5.1

English LPCM 2.0

 

Subtitles

English & French

 

Extras (in HD)

• The Complete Concert (214 min.)

• Extended Interview with Murphy & Chuck Klosterman (18:45)

• Concert Choir Rehearsal Outtake (4:45)

• Keith Wood’s Swearing Reel Outtake (0:16)

• Catching Up With Keith in Retirement (10:12)

• Original Theatrical Trailer

• Essay by Nick Sylvester

 

Presentation:

Custom Paper Gatefold Blu-ray case: BRD x 3

Release Date: October 9, 2012



SYNOPSIS [Oscilloscope]

If it’s a funeral… let’s have the best funeral ever.


On April 2nd, 2011, LCD SOUNDSYSTEM played its final show at Madison Square Garden.  LCD frontman James Murphy had made the conscious decision to disband one of the most celebrated and influential bands of its generation at the peak of its popularity, ensuring that the band would go out on top with the biggest and most ambitious concert of its career. The instantly sold out, near four-hour extravaganza did just that, moving the thousands in attendance to tears of joy and grief, with New York Magazine calling the event “a marvel of pure craft” and TIME magazine lamenting “we may never dance again.” SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS is simultaneously a document of a once-in-a-lifetime performance and an intimate portrait of Murphy as he navigates both the personal and professional ramifications of his decision.


        

 

The Movie : 7.5

Critical Reaction:

NPR.org

If you can fill an arena with thousands of devoted fans hanging on your every word and moving in unison to every beat, you might just be a rock star. The good news is that Murphy has managed every step of his band's trajectory according to his own terms.  That no-regrets attitude is articulated in an interview with the cultural commentator Chuck Klosterman that forms the nonconcert backbone of the film. Every great concert documentary needs something unexpected to make it into something special. Jonathan Demme's Talking Heads film Stop Making Sense had its starkly minimalist aesthetic; the Maysles Brothers' Rolling Stones doc Gimme Shelter had an on-camera stabbing; Scorsese's The Last Waltz, about The Band's final show, had ... well, Scorsese. Klosterman is Shut Up and Play the Hits' ace in the hole, a well-informed observer digging deeply into Murphy's complex and often conflicted relationship with stardom.


Shut Up and Play the Hits manages to effectively display the power of that final concert while putting the band's leader into thoughtful cultural perspective. While the filmmakers may sometimes be guilty of pushing the emotional connection with the band a little too hard — did we need to see the same weepy young man three times, including as the last shot of the film? — the tools that allowed them to highlight that connection exist only because this was a band that meant something special to everyone at Madison Square Garden that night. As time goes on, this is likely to be a film that will cement that connection with new fans who couldn't be there as well. - Ian Buckwalter


        


The Guardian

Nobody stops in pop; they reform, repackage and keep on rocking. Props to James Murphy, then, for calling it quits. The LCD Sound-system frontman disbanded his punk-funk ensemble at the height of their powers, playing one last show at Madison Square Gardens in April 2011. Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace's document of that gig is a bittersweet confection – a gorgeously shot concert film that cuts repeatedly between the near-desperate abandon of the show and Murphy, in his apartment the following day, wandering around in his pants and petting the dog. The joke's funny the first time, depressing the second and then a little grating. This is the end of a band, not a career. You wonder if they needed to treat the death of a party with such reverence. - Henry Barnes


        


New York Times

Mr. Murphy’s decision [to quit while he was ahead] can’t help being read as a defense against a natural, insignificant death, a forestalling of one’s mortality. This was a controlled way to end a career and a hubristic way of pulling the trigger, rooted in the belief that the funeral would be worth attending. And filming.  The corpse, as it happens, was beautiful. Directed by Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern, “Shut Up” is graceful in its depiction of the performance, neither uncomfortably intimate nor shy. It’s the rare concert film that goes out of its way not to flaunt the size of the audience — most of the camerawork is up close, emphasizing details that many there would have missed, giving it the feel of a small-room performance or a conversation among friends (though there are some impressive overhead shots of the crowd vibrating like testy electrons). - Jon Caramanica


        

 

Image: 7/8

13 cameras running on and around the stage, shooting from all those angles that we have come to expect from rock concerts, plus one or two I hadn’t seen before!  The wide dynamic range of its concert lighting certainly puts the HD video cameras to the test and, for the most part, they do the job very well.  Director of Photography Reed Morano opts for a brighter image than I would chosen, allowing for more shadow detail, but skimping somewhat on black levels.  Nothing to detract from the experience, however.  My only complaint isn’t really of the image at all but some of Morano’s basic ideas about cinematography: sliding the camera behind an obstruction during the restaurant interview so as to hide Murphy and highlight Klosterman, for example, struck me as amateurish.  And the entire opening sequence consisting mainly of overexposed blurs of pre-concert preparation fragments is a triumph of fashion over substance.  In any case, Oscilloscope does its usual outstanding job of getting out of the way of the transfer process and showing what was filmed without artifacts or enhancements.  Noise in low light situations is kept under control and is easily ignored or appears to an artistic choice.


        

 

Audio & Music: 8/9

I confess that how audio engineers record a live amplified concert without pissloads of hall echo yet integrating the many mike inputs into something resembling a coherent whole mystifies me.  Yet here it is.  Bass, especially, which should under these circumstances be fat and pitchless, actually has some focused energy here, not simply lugubrious blackness.  All the band members, the choir (did I mention there is a choir on some of the songs!), and Murphy’s ecstatic singing are sensibly recorded without screaming distortion.  The sense of a live performance is palpable - greater praise can hardly be granted.


        


DVD Comparison:

Oscilloscope’s DVD release offers exactly the same content as the Blu-ray.  Side-by-side comparisons of image quality favor the Blu-ray of course, but not as much as you might expect, especially when upscaled by a competent processor such as in the OPPO BDP-95.  The Blu-ray has better motion and simply feels more solid - more like people moving about rather than pictures of people moving about.  But it’s in the audio where the Blu-ray shines, especially the bass, which on the DVD is flabby by comparison.  The BD’s entire aural spectrum has an alive quality that the DVD lacks. Oscilloscope’s DVD stands well enough on its own terms, it’s just that the BD, with its uncompressed audio, especially in 5.1, shows off what high definition is all about.


        

        


        

        

 

Extras: 10

Once again, Oscilloscope scores major points with their extra features, the big attraction being the complete April 2, 2011 farewell concert at Madison Square Garden.  But there is more: an additional quarter hour from the three hours of tape from the interview with Murphy & Klosterman; in another segment, Murphy drives out to visit Keith post concert - sweet and short.  Shorter still is the 16-second Swear Reel, which stands in for a Gag Reel and is funnier for that than most other running off at the mouth for much longer.  Finally we have choir master Nick Sylvester’s cover memoir about the concert - shorter and more readable than Oscilloscope’s prior box essays.


        

 

Recommendation: 9

The three reviews quoted above are typical of on-line comments for the documentary film that comprises just one of the three dual-layered Blu-ray discs that make up Oscilloscope’s BD-OSC 45.  Not to put too fine a point on it, the documentary is fine as far as it goes - offering informal yet studied insights into the character of the band’s leader, 41-year old James Murphy, along with sizable edits of 14 songs from the concerts - in the same image and sound quality as appears on the bonus discs, in case you were wondering. But the heart of this release, and what will keep you returning to it again and again, is the concert itself: three and a half hours of lively “electronic dance-punk” (as Wikipedia describes LCD SoundSystem) in pretty good image and bloody good sound - better than what the audience heard at the Garden, says Murphy, and I have no reason to think otherwise.  Highly recommended.


        



Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

October 5, 2012

 

 

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