Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The National play stunning set at Memorial Auditorium

All photos by Kevin Norris
The National strolled onto the stage at Raleigh's Memorial Auditorium Monday night, wowing the crowd with a lengthy set spanning their last four albums.

They kicked things off with the Boxer classic "Start a War" and were joined by a pair of horn players who stuck around for the entire set adding a little extra color to the band's tunes.

The set was heavy on songs from The National's latest album High Violet as well as their breakthrough album Boxer. A few older tunes were big hits in the set too, including the raucous "Abel" and the even older "Available."

During the set, the band gave a shout out to local business Raleigh Denim, who outfitted the band with new jeans earlier that day which most of the group were wearing on stage.

The set closed with the soaring, elegant song "Fake Empire." Once the band returned to the stage after a short break, the launched into "Runaway" followed by an intense performance of the Alligator classic "Mr. November."

Moments into "Terrible Love," singer Matt Berninger disappeared into the front of the crowd, making his way up the aisle to the back of the room. He kept singing the entire time and his mic cable hovered over the crowd with fans passing it along so he could keep roaming. It was certainly a show-stopping moment.

With that, you'd think the band would be done, but they each took to the edge of the stage for a beautiful unplugged performance of "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks."

The National are a force to be reckoned with, not letting the melancholy vibe of their music keep them from putting on an intense performance better than most "rock stars."

Canadian singer songwriter Owen Pallet opened the show with a dazzling set of unique pop tunes featuring looped violins, vocals and drum samples. For a portion of the set he was joined by another musician on guitar drums to help fill out the sound. The song "A Man With No Ankles" was a highlight of the set.

The National set list
Start a War
Anyone's Ghost
Mistaken For Strangers
Bloodbuzz Ohio
Slow Show
Squalor Victorious
Afraid of Everyone
Available > Cardinal Song
Conversation 16
Apartment Story
Green Gloves
Fake Empire
Mr. November
Terrible Love
Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks

The National

Owen Pallett


Abby said...

I offer some very crappy video of the encores: http://youtu.be/e4CeUbIJvZk and http://youtu.be/Rqn4uiEV9zU. Great show. I hadn't seen them before and was definitely pleased. The sound was really good, too. In my opinion, that's not always the case.

Anonymous said...

It was a great show but the setlist was pretty disappointing. 2 songs off of Alligator is not enough.

Anonymous said...

Great show! Kudos to the security staff for removing the drunken heckler from the front row. Singer, Matt Berninger assembled a wall of monitors to block the guy.

Anonymous said...

I love The National, but I felt like the show was pretty flat and lethargic for the first two-thirds of the set. From the third row it seemed like there was some real drama on stage between the band members -- like they'd had a fight backstage before going on. When I saw them open for Arcade Fire in 2007 it was one of the most energetic shows I'd seen up to that point (at least until Arcade Fire came on later than night). Monday, I felt like the songs plodded along. Certainly the second half of the show improved and the encore can't be beat. But this fan was pretty disappointed.

Anonymous said...

This was the first time I've seen them, but I thought it was a great show. The set list covered most of my favorites and they sounded great throughout.

Anonymous said...

i had high hopes, first time seeing them, but the show was extremely flat and displayed what i thought was a lack of variety in the songwriting i hadn't noticed as much in the studio versions. the mix was terrible for a good 3/4 of the set and the vocalist needs to back off the mic when he screams. eek! he also seemed extremely awkward on stage, seemingly not knowing what to do with himself when he wasn't singing. not a very good stage presence. far from stunning...but i digress...

Anonymous said...

As for the first half of the show being not as good. Being someone that was in the second row I think that the drunk annoying idiot up front had a lot to do with that. The band seemed to be annoyed with him and rightfully so. And for those of you who don't know he was yelling things to them between songs and asking them really stupid questions. The evidence that they were bothered by him came when the monitors were stacked and the security guard finally removed him. He left half way through and the show seemed to get better. I thought it was in my head but then one of you posted saying you thought so too. Gotta love drunk idiots at shows....

Anonymous said...

the national + punk screaming = bad concert.

Anonymous said...

A question for those of you complaining about Matt's screaming: Have you heard any National albums other than Boxer and High Violet? Screaming is fairly prominent in their earlier albums.