It’s bad enough that LCD Soundsystem’s April 2 show at Madison Square Garden — originally billed as a massive, triumphant farewell party for the band — has been marred by ticketing issues that seemingly landed all the venue’s seats in the hands of nefarious scalpers. Now the to-be-sorely-missed sad-rockers have a full-blown conspiracy theory to deal with as well.
The accusation — first floated by music-industry blogger Bob Lefsetz, then backed by Reuters’ Felix Salmon — is that the four additional good-bye shows announced right after the MSG fiasco, presented as a means for the band to make sure real fans could see them one last time, were actually an evil calculation. In this scenario, Bowery Presents, LCD Soundsystem’s promoter, did not actually release all of the seats for the MSG show in the general sale, knowing that the mad scramble to get tickets would make noise. Then they use that noise to sell out the additional shows announced after the MSG show but secretly planned before — shows that are, dastardly, at the Bowery Presents–owned venue Terminal 5. Meanwhile, Bowery Presents or even LCD Soundsystem themselves sells the rest of the MSG seats in lucrative shady backdoor-alley-type situations.
There’s a few reasons why the conspiracy theory is taking hold: the obvious financial considerations, of course, but also the fact that Terminal 5 was conveniently not booked in the four days before LCD Soundsystem’s MSG gig. Also, as Salmon puts it, “Bowery Presents, the promoter of these shows, knows full well how many tickets were sold to the MSG show, and when. But they’re not releasing that information, because it’s very much in their interest for everybody to believe that 13,000 tickets sold out in a matter of seconds.” He concludes that the promoters “understood the economics of scarcity all too well — and successfully used it to generate buzz and publicity.”
Okay, but here’s the thing: LCD Soundsystem does not need a ticketing fiasco to sell out Terminal 5 or MSG for their last shows ever. They are beloved; those shows would have sold out no matter what. This, really, makes no sense: Why try to pull off a ticketing scheme knowing full well the backlash that would follow the mess? Why risk sullying your sterling reputation right as you’re playing your farewell shows? Is it really that crazy that Terminal 5 was available? Is it possible that there were tentative shows booked but that they were scrapped considering the situation? Does anyone commenting on this really know anything about how Terminal 5 operates its schedule? Besides, if LCD Soundsystem really wanted to make some fast cash, they would have just sold a song to a car commercial.