Had the pleasure of seeing the boys last night. First time I’ve seen them since I ran into scott in the bagel shop near both of our long island homes 🙂
The good: they had great energy, Matt seemed super engaged and they sounded much better than the Prospect Park show which was the last time I saw them. He seemed drunker than usual during the encore and messed up the lyrics on Pink Rabbits.
Nobody else will be there, secret meeting, apartment story and bloodbuzz were even better than usual live – he went apish*t on the end of apartment story which i often find is too quiet live. The system always… was fantastic live. Their Ramones cover was on point being in queens and was well done. Venue is great, acoustics are solid and the crowd was lively for the most part.
The bad: Carin at the liquor store and walk it back were somehow even worse live than on the album; turtleneck was much better live but I still just don’t get it. I think sin-eaters was a better, more subtle takedown song.They seem to really enjoy the new album, not sure most of the die hards in the crowd did. the floor got quiet and lots of pee breaks during dark side of the gym and walk it back. I suppose they’ve earned the right to experiment.
I thought last night’s show at Forest Hills was spectacular. Live performances of the songs on SWB were glorious, on a whole other level from the album. No, the show or the crowd was not raucous, but that was perfectly OK with me. My girlfriend and I stood dead center at what would be the equivalent of about 20 rows back. The sound was great and the crowd was completely into it, singing along beautifully to several of the new songs. The National impressed me in a way last night that I didn’t think they could still do–and I’ve seen them many, many times since 2005. There was a poise and polish and professionalism to last night’s performance that I would not have thought possible–or appropriate–in earlier years. Incredibly, amazingly, this band is getting better! Somehow, this band is growing and maturing and evolving in all the right ways (in my view). The word that keeps coming back to me in thinking about them last night is: quality. And that’s in addition to them already touching me musically, lyrically, artistically, emotionally, politically and visually! The National are starting to take the space in my life that was once occupied by REM and U2 many moons ago. My only hope is that they will play again very soon at the Beacon or Radio City so I can see and hear them in even more splendor.
(Awesome set list, BTW! Wonderfully conceived, very well paced.)
NOTE: this mp3 file is an edit of the original concert. I’ve removed all of the talking and vast majority of space between songs. This file is 1:46:12; the original was 1:58. (I have the original and will make it available to anyone who wants it instead of this edit.)