Jan 24, 2008

The National @ City Recital Hall (Third Night)

The National @ City Recital Hall

I have a new thought, something that is going to improve my life immeasurably. I think I will listen to "About Today" once a day for the rest of my life. You see, I saw a band called The National last night, for the second time in three days. They are good, quite good. No, scratch that, they are great. Smoldering great. Even though they played nearly exactly the set list, I did not care. For many reasons, but closing with "About Today" is the premium one. This soaring, heart shattering, earth moving song is monstrously good. But to hear it live is another matter all together. It becomes its own little symphony as it slowly but surely wraps and twists itself around my heart. At first it is barely a murmur, a tremble, a soft and pleading violin. Then subtle guitar chords echo through my mind. Then, wait for it, here comes the voice. That treacle like, burning ember of a voice in Matt Berninger. He whispers "Today you were far away and I didn't ask you why. What could I say. I was far away. You just walked away and I just watched you. What could I say." As I try to compose myself, he then tells me "How close am I to losing you". Well, I am losing it at this point. The mournful violin is building with intensity and the guitars are reaching their crescendo. Then the vocals stop, then it all breaks loose. Guitars crash into violins at an inhuman rate. Padma cuts his instrument in half and the Dessners snap chords till their fingers bleed. Then it slows down and I catch my breath. Then they are gone, into the night. Breathless, I am. Stunned but eternally content. And all with my head resting on the shoulder of a loved one, what more could I ask for.

As stated, the night was nearly a replica of Monday night, so I won't go into describing each song again. Suffice to say, "Apartment Story" and "Baby, We'll Be Fine" were sublime moments again and I was ecstatic to hear "Daughters Of The Soho Riots" for the first time. So tender, so soft. I feel so grateful to have seen this band twice. To see the Dessners destroy and massage their guitars, to hear Mr. Devendorf's exquisite drumming and to hear the incomparable voice of Matt Berninger. Privileged, delighted, content. Please come back again and next time I seriously need to hear "Mr November" in a pub, the Annandale will do.

I have posted some photos to Flickr.
I have upgraded to Pro, so they should hopefully be a better quality.

Set List
Start A War
Mistaken For Strangers
Secret Meeting
Baby, We'll Be Fine
Slow Show
Green Gloves
Squalor Victoria
The Geese Of Beverly Road
Racing Like A Pro
Apartment Story
Daughters Of The Soho Riots
Fake Empire

Mr November
About Today


  • At January 24, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    God I wonder how Matt copes being in a band with 2 sets of brothers...loved the show last night too...Mr November was the highlight for me...only disappointment - he didn't let us see his treasure map/chest

  • At January 24, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    You were right, that was amazing. Despite the awesomeness of Mr November etc, I think I loved the quiet moments most - Daughters of the Soho Riots was just gorgeous.

    I'd never heard About Today before last week, but I read they were playing it at most of their shows, so I downloaded it earlier this week, and it's been on constant replay on my ipod for the last four days (and then some more on the train home last night). I already used the word gorgeous once in this post, but it's an appropriate word.


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