Thursday, October 7, 2010
Every time I see The National, I have doubts about their ability to outdo themselves onstage. By no means do I mean that as a criticism of their live show, nor as an admission of disappointment with their performances. Instead, I find myself increasingly blown away with each and every concert of theirs that I witness. Admittedly, I was guardedly optimistic about their Atlanta stop at the Fox Theatre en route to Austin City Limits this weekend. And once again, I was taken aback by the New York rockers’ rousing and despondent sound.
The Fox Theatre was remarkably empty—probably the smallest crowd of any show that I have seen there. Despite the noticeable lack of folks in attendance, this show undoubtedly had the most rapturous crowd response out of all the times that I’ve been there. That includes artists such as Sufjan Stevens, Death Cab for Cutie, Kings of Leon, Wilco and Ben Harper. But all those who were there Tuesday night most likely left a little awestricken by The National’s show.
The National eased into their set as lead singer Matt Berninger crooned his way through a gorgeous rendition of “Runaway.” From there, the band cruised through a dynamic set including the driving force of “Blood Buzz Ohio” and the stunning orchestration of the oft-forgotten track “The Geese of Beverly Road.” Both Dessner brothers were particularly chipper throughout their set, playfully bantering with a usually quiet Matt Berninger between songs. The band even decided to make a rare “awkward” set list change for a fan screaming through much of the show for “All The Wine” to be played.
The band was clearly in good spirits throughout the night, and their energy was reflected right back from the crowd. Berninger asked the crowd to leave their seats and pack up closely to the stage for “England” and “Fake Empire,” while venturing far out into the crowd as he shrieked the lyrics to “Mr. November.” Their last song, however, caught everyone’s attention, as the band played a stripped down version of “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks.” Berninger belted without the assistance of his microphone, allowing his voice to resonate throughout the entire Fox Theatre. And just like that, The National managed to send the astounded crowd on their way.
Mistaken For Strangers
Blood Buzz Ohio
Afraid of Everyone
The Geese of Beverly Road
All The Wine
Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks