Shut Up and Play the Hits is a non-linear chronicle of the show and the day afterward, with some additional footage recorded a week before the show (as well as the clips from "The Colbert Report"). Filmmakers Dylan Southern and William Lovelace jump between the concert itself, and the events of the following day, in which Murphy considers what life will be like post-LCD Soundsystem. They also incorporate footage of Murphy being interviewed by Chuck Klosterman at a restaurant, talking about the history and the end of the band.
The concert footage is pretty spectacular. Even some of the more lavish home video presentations of concerts tend to feel restricted by the number of angles possible, but Hits contains plenty of dynamic handheld footage, with the camera jumping all around the elaborate stage. Combined with the lighting, it's very rare that two angles look exactly alike, keeping the concert fresh. The band is also in fine form, concluding their ten-year journey on a high note. There's only so much of the four hour show in the 108-minute movie, especially since it has to "compete" with other material, but it looks and sounds great, effectively tapping the viewer into the loose but enthusiastic vibe of everyone involved.
Elsewhere, the directors study the mundane moments of rock star retirement. Murphy takes his dog out for a walk, then goes to an office he admits he hasn't been to in over a year and fiddles with the espresso machine (during his "Colbert Report" appearance, he jokes that he'd like to devote more time to making coffee in his retirement). Later, he heads to a lunch meeting with his manager Keith Wood, who is also retiring, and seems to skip out on a goodbye dinner with his other bandmates. The most poignant moment comes when Murphy goes to look at the storage unit with the band's equipment to decide what to do with it; although Southern and Lovelace push their luck a little with cutaways to photos of the band from earlier in their run, Murphy's wave of emotion at the sight of the warehouse is a punch to the gut.
There's also the Klosterman material, in which the writer picks at Murphy's thought process with questions about the nature of art and the legacy of LCD Soundsystem, many of which cause Murphy to pause for several seconds before answering, his eyes darting back and forth. There's a sense that Murphy is determined to answer earnestly, even if the questions are daunting to consider. Two of the topics provide a sliver of insight into the band's end. Murphy tells Klosterman about his image of rock stars: "David Bowie. In my mind, he was from outer space. Like, he's not a person. This isn't a person that would wake up, and whose foot would hurt because they kicked a couch the night before." Southern and Lovelace jump to this soundbyte, laid over footage of Murphy shaving, shortly after the film's energetic first song, in which he casually strides on stage to thunderous applause and throws himself into "Dance Yrself Clean," finishing by holding a note while the crowd pulses and the camera spins around him.
In the same segment, Murphy also talks about how he was a pretentious kid, absorbing art that was way over his head in order to appear "cool" and later discovering it made up a big part of who he is, how he believed he couldn't be a rock star, and the ideas behind the song "Losing My Edge," which was the band's first single. Taken together, there's a sense that Murphy feels he pulled a fast one on the rock world, using the facade provided by his pretention to run off with a stolen piece of cultural cachet, and that even at the beginning, he heard the footsteps of those who were going to find him out. What Southern and Lovelace prove, by showing us both, is that the guy with his dog on the subway and the guy who can command the attention of a sold-out Madison Square Garden are not that hard to reconcile. Murphy had nothing to worry about.
The Video and Audio
Next, two outtakes (4:50, 0:17) are included. The first is some footage of the choir rehearsing, and the other is a short supercut of swearing from the movie. Nothing spectacular.
The first disc ends with "Catching Up with Keith" (10:12), a brief, funny featurette in which Murphy goes to visit Keith in upstate New York. Murphy both interviews Keith as they walk around his expansive property, but also records the sound, which makes for some funny side moments.
Of course, the real extra is on Discs Two and Three: the entire Madison Square Garden farewell show (Disc Two: 1:46:26; Disc Three: 1:48:08), presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1 and LPCM 2.0, just like the feature film. I imagine there are probably plenty of fans who would've bought a concert DVD all by itself, so either way you slice it, you're getting a hell of an extra feature. It doesn't hurt that the concert is cut together as dynamically as the feature itself, putting it a notch above the usual filmed concert experience.
A promo for Oscilloscope plays before the main menu on Disc One. An original theatrical trailer is also included.