James Murphy was standing with a bottle of Champagne, two flutes dangling between his fingers and a full glass in his other hand. He swerved. It was nearly 4 in the morning. He had just played the final show fronting LCD Soundsystem, and the band and friends had taken over the gold-coral vestibules of the Tribeca Grand.
For a week, Mr. Murphy maintained a stranglehold on New York City: the packed, hyped, lusted-over shows at Terminal 5, the balloon-laden extravaganza of Madison Square Garden, the masses entering high and leaving higher. Dancing, they sweated off the stimulants during “Dance Yourself Clean.” Dancing, they cried off the ecstasy during “New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down.” Dancing, they could see all their friends tonight.
The Observer had caught the Monday night show, but Saturday night The Observer went to a party for a literary magazine where Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend asked The Observer to set him up with a particularly attractive blond man standing on the dance floor. The storefront space in Soho was stuffed with sweaty bookworms, and the sidewalk lined with nihilistic chain smokers. The Observer left around 1:30 in a cab for the Ace Hotel.
Everyone at the Ace bar had on black or white, as they had been at the show and this was the dress code. The Observer drank a beer in a friend’s room and started trading text messages a friend downtown.
“3000 ppl here, djing with LCD, Cut Copy and Soulwax.”
“Oh, fuck. How late?”
Another taxi, this time to the Tribeca Grand.
The comedian Aziz Ansari was standing in a secluded booth space in the lobby talking to Mr. Murphy.
“I’m excited about retiring our band because we’re, like, ‘Dude there’s a place that sells chicken …’” he said.
“There’s a really good chicken shawarma in Bay Ridge!” Mr. Ansari offered.
Then Mr. Murphy’s eyes fell toward the bottle of Champagne in his grasp and his face flickered, as if he had forgotten and then discovered the bounty. He was walking away. He had to get behind the turntables in the basement.
“One more song!”
Slung from his wrist was a canvas tote bag filled with 15 records. Mr. Murphy smiled, bowed and dipped into his portable vinyl collection.
“One more song!”
The leggy blonde onstage flung her arms in the air and around Mr. Murphy, and around the members of Soulwax and Cut Copy. Everyone started yelling, badgering. Someone took The Observer’s notebook and wrote “I ❤ ROBOTS & MDMA AND LITERATURE AND SARAH PALIN.” Mr. Murphy placed a vintage seven-inch single of Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place” on the deck, hoping to spin it.
“One more song!”
Mr. Murphy placed the needle. There were cheers, screaming, but the management approached stone-faced and shut the sound off. Mr. Murphy slid the record back in its sleeve and walked off the stage.
On the fourth floor, where Mr. Murphy and his band were having a late party. The Observer checked his iPhone. It was 5:22. The iPhone battery ran out soon after. Then he ate some of James Murphy’s grapes, chose a song by the Weeknd to play on YouTube, and walked to the appendage of the suite where there was a line of people waiting in line for refreshments. There was one rule: You sit and talk with the svengali, tell him a story and then you get your dose.
With the sun blazing at 7 in the morning, Mr. Murphy stepped out of the Tribeca Grand still in the sweat-beaten tuxedo shirt he wore before the thousands at Madison Square Garden so many hours before. They had licked the mini-fridge clean of its mini-bottles.
“Going home to Brooklyn,” Mr. Murphy said, and he was off in a cab.