In The Flesh...The National @ First Avenue

>> Monday, 9 August 2010

Have you ever left a show thinking, "that's it! I'm for sure starting a band!" then spent the rest of the evening fantasizing about performing in front of a thousand adoring fans who sing along to every word while togged out in your ultra-chic merch?

Such was my inspired headspace Friday night as I shuffled out of First Avenue alongside 1500 plumb pleased concert goers. For over two hours, Brooklyn-via-Ohio's the National tirelessly soared through a lengthy 22-song set of their awe-inspiring, venerated indie-rock.

Three nights later and my blood is still buzzing.

Joined on stage by a three-member horn section and occasionally, as noted below, can't-miss singer-songwriter Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver fame), the dynamic sextet proved why their haunting, brooding tones are so widely cherished: the emotional response was instantly undeniable and near-palpable.

Opening with stately "Runaway", off May's High Violet, the band quickly won over the forest-thick, bristling crowd (including yours truly), constructing a setlist that paid tribute to at least four of their albums. This included a five-song encore, a finale to this amazing show that left me slightly confused: I got the distinct impression the band wanted to keep playing and playing (according to forms, this was one of their longer performances). But in the end, I suppose the reality behind touring reared its ugly head and they had to go.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go blow the dust off my electric guitar.


Set List


  1. Runaway
  2. Mistaken For Strangers
  3. Anyone’s Ghost
  4. Bloodbuzz Ohio
  5. Baby We’ll Be Fine
  6. Slow Show
  7. Squalor Victoria
  8. Afraid of Everyone (with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver)
  9. Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks (with JV)
  10. Available/Cardinal Song
  11. Conversation 16
  12. Apartment Story
  13. Lemonworld
  14. Abel
  15. Daughter of the Soho Riots
  16. England
  17. Fake Empire
  1. 90-Mile Water Wall (with JV)*
  2. You Were a Kindness (with JV)
  3. Mr. November
  4. Terrible Love (with JV)
  5. About Today (with JV)

*about this song, singer Matt Beringer stated, “I don’t think we’ve ever played that song live before.” It was that kinda night. 


Anonymous,  10 August 2010 at 09:41  

great set list! jealous.

let's start a campaign to bring them to winnipeg!

dave,  10 August 2010 at 09:49  

i just recently travelled to montreal to see them, their live show has got to be one of the most moving musical experiences i've ever seen.

Julie,  10 August 2010 at 09:56  

I agree, great set list. Sounds like it was an amazing show!

willlllll,  10 August 2010 at 16:26  

band of the year.
their lolla set was mindblowing.

Sarah,  11 August 2010 at 18:54  

Sounds unbelievable!! What a setlist, wow. I have sexy dreams about seeing The National...

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