Posted in music | pictures on December 13, 2011

by Toby Tenenbaum

The National

Opening night of the six that The National will be playing at the plush Beacon Theater did not disappoint. The first guest opener was The War on Drugs who were fresh from their sold out show at Bowery Ballroom the night before. WOD put on a sonically interesting (but visually dull) performance - a mix of weaving, trippy layered guitar and saxophone. National frontman Matt Berninger joked that the name of the band is somewhat misleading because they were doing a tons of blow backstage before the show. War on Drugs played for 40 minutes before abruptly leaving the stage without a word.

At 9:10 the house lights went down and "Wild Boys" by Duran Duran began thumping over the PA system as a live feed of the band enjoying last minute dressing room banter was projected onto the stage's backdrop. The band emerged and opened with the brooding "Runaway" followed by "Anyone's Ghost", both from High Violet, and then "Mistaken For Strangers" from Boxer. You can see the full setlist below.

The variation of the band's back-catalog was perfectly appropriate with songs like "Available" from Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers and "Mr. November" from Alligator, along with two 'new' songs: "Rylan" and "I Need My Girl". Perhaps it was the grandeur of the venue, the 31st NYC room they've played, but the on-stage chemistry was a bit off. The music however was exceptional,

After Matt had stage walked over the orchestra's seats, and accidentally had his leg trapped between the seats, there was still time for an accapella version of "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks" at the front of the stage as the entire audience were invited to crowd around (I wish they had done that at the beginning). The overall-amazing show ended at 11:00 PM on the dot.

Sharon Van Etten opens the 2nd show at the same venue tonight (12/13). More pictures and the setlist from night one, below...

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War on Drugs

War on Drugs

War on Drugs

War on Drugs

War on Drugs

War on Drugs

War on Drugs

War on Drugs

War on Drugs

War on Drugs

War on Drugs

War on Drugs

War on Drugs

War on Drugs

War on Drugs

War on Drugs

War on Drugs

War on Drugs

War on Drugs

War on Drugs

War on Drugs

The National

The National

The National

The National

The National

The National

The National

The National

The National

The National

The National

The National

The National

The National

The National

The National

The National

The National

The National

The National

The National

War on Drugs

The National setlist
Runaway
Anyone's Ghost
Mistaken For Strangers
Secret Meeting
Blood Buzz
Slow Show
Squalor Victoria
Afraid of Everyone
Conversation 16
Rylan
Available
Sorrow
Lucky You
England
Fake Empire
I Need My Girl
Mr. November
Terrible Love
Venderlyle Crybaby Geeks (acc)

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Comments (86)

wow; that's pretty much the same setlist they've been touring on for almost the past two years. you'd think they'd change it up for these somewhat special shows.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 11:47 AM

Let the hatred begin...how original.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 11:49 AM

NO ABEL?

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 11:49 AM

KCMU + The National ... 4Life

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 11:50 AM

cant wait for war on drugs on saturday

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 11:52 AM

What time did the opener go on?

8 on the dot?

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 11:53 AM

I went to the show and am a pretty big fan of The Nat'l; however this performance was dull and tired. From where I sat in the orchestra, the sound was murky, drums muddled, and just more of the same after a full year's worth of touring (I've seen them twice before on this tour). They badly need to take a break from the touring and hit refresh.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 11:53 AM

hello...they are dull and tired. ive never understood how they got so big.

its lite fm indie rock for marketing execs.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 11:55 AM

"sonically interesting (but visually dull)"

huh?

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 12:01 PM

No hate, however they are dull and tired. I feel bad for them. They don't play enough tunes from Sad Songs. Maybe that would cheer them up. What happened to the lads who weren't ashamed to rip off Silver Jews and wrote "Trophy Wife"? They are settling.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 12:02 PM

>> its lite fm indie rock for marketing execs.

ha! that's funny. i don't agree, but still ... points for humor.

bring on the walkmen if you cunts want a band that tears up the fucking stage.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 12:02 PM

>

Agree completely. I have seen them a few times this tour (BAM, the small room next to Webster Hall, two shows at Bell House), and last night's show was missing something. I'm going back on Wednesday, so hopefully they'll mix up the set list.

Still, it was nice to hear "Son" for the first time, which should be inserted after Rylan and before Available in the above set list.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 12:02 PM

Will they alter the setlist for the other nights?

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 12:02 PM

"The music however was exceptional,"

luv when paragraphs end on a comma!

you got on the list for this show and you can't proofread 4 paragraphs? maybe read through it once or twice after you write it, your 10th grade english teacher would be proud.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 12:03 PM

Was anyone still awake at the end of the show?

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 12:03 PM

Can an overall-amazing show have on-stage chemistry that was a bit off?

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 12:12 PM

How can they not be sick of playing these songs? They have so many other great songs to pick from too.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 12:13 PM

Amazing show. Best I have seen this year. Whoever does the video / visual stuff for them really takes it to another level.

Posted by tom | December 13, 2011 12:14 PM

Why are all of these photos at a weird angle?

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 12:18 PM

"Amazing show. Best I have seen this year. Whoever does the video / visual stuff for them really takes it to another level."

LULZ, this comment made me laugh much more than the ones that were actually trying to be funny

Posted by tom's an idiot | December 13, 2011 12:26 PM

how many people from this post commented on the one below it, the rites of darkness post?

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 12:27 PM

"sonically interesting (but visually dull)"
huh?

----------

I can only assume it was a similar aesthetic to the WOD Bowery Ballroom show. The music sounded great and meandered in some "sonically interesting" areas that would have benefitted from a decent light show (or some type of visual ambiance). While the Bowery is intimate... I can imagine that a venue the size of the Beacon would feel a bit dull.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 12:29 PM

the band did seem a little tense and awkward.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 12:29 PM

First show of a six-night run. They are likely pacing themselves.

As for War on Drugs, its a good sign if anonymous bv trolls can only criticize your light show or your music as being "visually boring."

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 12:37 PM

@ 12:37,

you're not referring to a BV troll, you're referring to toby tenenbaum's shitty "journalism" !

best,
a bv troll

ps. it's absurd to "expect" a band to provide a light show. maybe they can't afford / don't want to lug it around. where's yr punk spirit?

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 12:52 PM

light shows are so punk.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 12:53 PM

12:37...artist don't need to pace themselves...Phish, Springsteen, Cure...they don't pace themselves...maybe they had an off night but pacing is not right...you shortchange many of your fans by doing that!

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 12:54 PM

I see the hipster hate is in effect here. It seems many of you are now hating them because they have become successful and play in front of many people instead of you and 4 drunks at places like the Cake Shop.

Last night's show was simply amazing. This is a band that is locked is musically. The crowd was great also. You can tell many were seeing them for the first time and they were really having a great evening watching this band put on a show. I would rather see that than see those who saw them play in front of 10 people years ago complain about how it's not the same anymore.

I hope they continue to grow and play arenas soon so more people can hear them. Best bands in the world right now are U2, Coldplay and the National.

Posted by Loop | December 13, 2011 12:55 PM

bring on the walkmen if you cunts want a band that tears up the fucking stage.
^
totally right. the walkmen always rip it.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 12:58 PM

fu..c.k the national and all all the people there f,ucki,ng posers

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 12:59 PM

The only way I would give two shits about U2 these days are if they pulled some time warp action and came back as the same band who gave a big middle finger to their fans by producing 'Achtung, Baby!' and performed it live. The only time I would ever mention Coldplay is to enforce my belief that they suck. (see Jon Pareles NYT column from a few years ago). I think The National are a great band who play complicated rock music and write great lyrics. Again, if you kids want a band that tears up the fucking stage and leaves you in a hot mess, go see The Walkmen. Oh, and call KEXP and tell them to bring back KCMU because their contrived only-what-Pitchfork-says programming has reached its expiration date.


Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 1:07 PM

The National represents the 1 percent. "A rock band for Hedge Fund hipsters."

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 1:11 PM

Well I did not think that it could get funnier than tom's comment but Loop you have managed to surpass tom in complete laughable idiocy.

Congrats dummy.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 1:13 PM

12:55 - i actually thought you were serious until you mentioned U2 and Coldplay

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 1:14 PM

Does anyone know how much scalpers were selling tickets for outside?

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 1:14 PM

"Best bands in the world right now are U2, Coldplay and the National."

Thank you for this.Makes it very simple to dismiss anything you say when you make a comment this ridiculous

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 1:15 PM

12:55 is the most perfect use of sarcasm I have ever read on here. Very good indeed, my good man.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 1:32 PM

I'm pretty sure he meant it sarcastically.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 1:34 PM

"Well I did not think that it could get funnier than tom's comment but Loop you have managed to surpass tom in complete laughable idiocy."

I agree that Loop's final closing statement was lunacy, but it's fucking obnoxious how most of you will use terms like "laughable idiocy" to describe someone who may like The National.

As long as you are musically open-minded, enjoying any sort of music above another sort does not make you any less smart or of a human being.

Go back to middle school where that kind of shit might make sense.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 1:34 PM

dead on 1:07. coldplay SUCK big time and u2 are completely irrelevant.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 1:35 PM

^ aww, shucks. thanks!

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 1:36 PM

HAHA, I love holier-than-thou hipsters who think U2 are irrelevant. So cute and rebellious.

They're not my cup of tea either, and I think that they should probably stop touring now, but making a ridiculous statement like that is showing how much of a total imbecile you are regardless of whether or not you like the music. Or Bono. Everyone hates Bono.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 1:40 PM

Anybody got the over/under on the percentage of people commenting here that are contemplating a sex change somewhere down the line?

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 1:44 PM

Hey douchebags, you prove my points. I threw in the last line because simply mentioning a big band on these boards elicits automatic hate without giving the music a chance. Many here (and my comments are simply directed at those people and not those whose taste may not include the National, which is cool) seem to have started to dislike the National, not because they don't like High Violet,but because they are playing bigger venues than those they did a few years ago and that really is not fair to the hard work they have put in touring all these years continuously.

Posted by Loop | December 13, 2011 1:44 PM

A play from the Win Butler handbook

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 1:46 PM

I saw them perform High Violet in March of last year. I am cooler than you.

Posted by Venkman | December 13, 2011 1:47 PM

Any Negro's like this band?

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 1:53 PM

negro possessives, as opposed to negro progressives?

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 2:01 PM

>>Any Negro's like this band?

Awwwww ....... SHIT! You stupid cunt. I thought we went over this type of grammar issue, what, a year or two ago? Pay. The. Fuck. Attention!!!

What you did there was make that possessive. And based upon the context of your sentence, you proabably wanted to make it plural. If you don't know the difference, do yourself a favor and go repeat second grade you ignorant fuck.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 2:05 PM

I put my monitor on a 45 degree angle so I could see most of these photos properly.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 2:07 PM

How does anyone get behind The War On Drugs? Nothing to latch on to musically and it's just yet another group of self-aware, earnest white-guys merely being competent at their instruments.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 2:15 PM

Urinary tract infection.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 2:44 PM

I hope they continue to grow and play arenas soon so more people can hear them. Best bands in the world right now are U2, Coldplay and the National.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 2:44 PM

I hope they continue to grow and play arenas soon so more people can hear them. Best bands in the world right now are U2, Coldplay and the National.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 2:46 PM

I hope they continue to grow and play arenas soon so more people can hear them. Best bands in the world right now are U2, Coldplay and the National.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 2:47 PM

I hope they continue to grow and play arenas soon so more people can hear them. Best bands in the world right now are U2, Coldplay and the National.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 2:47 PM

Apparently this photographer doesn't give a shit about the bass player and drummer in The National.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 2:59 PM

National should play 3 nights at MSG and one up the Black Keys..who's got my West GA ticket!

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 3:00 PM

I'm not 100% certain, but u thought I heard the national being played at oasis on Bedford ave the other day when I strolled by.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 3:05 PM

11:47
like you went to any of the shows...

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 3:15 PM

12:58
like you're british...

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 3:18 PM

where's the merch table shot?

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 3:19 PM

so what time did the national go on?
what time did they finish?
i got a subway to catch... i don't live on the upper west side...

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 3:20 PM

So did they have pillows available last night or should I just bring my own for tonight's show?

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 3:22 PM

Can someone tell me what is the appeal of the
National? There music is dull and boring and the lead singers voice sucks! I have seen these guys live and just don't get it?

Posted by Spikenyc | December 13, 2011 3:29 PM

The Balding

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 3:34 PM

saw them at south street seaport, free show...

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 3:52 PM

@12:53 "light shows are so punk." ZING

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 3:52 PM

THIS BAND IS VERY OVERRATED

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 4:45 PM

how much were nitrous ballons going for?

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 4:58 PM

"Again, if you kids want a band that tears up the fucking stage and leaves you in a hot mess, go see The Walkmen."

Are you fucking serious? The fucking WALKMEN "tears" up the stage?

That band produces some of the most unmemorable jangly "rock" I've ever heard. I almost fell asleep on my feet when they were opening for the Fleet Foxes (and it takes a lot to be more boring live than the Fleet Foxes).

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 5:05 PM

"and it takes a lot to be more boring live than the Fleet Foxes"


...or just in general.

Posted by Anonymous | December 13, 2011 5:32 PM

@5:05pm why the fuck were you at a Walkmen/Fleet Foxes show if it sounds like you like neither? I will assume you were trying to bang a hipster chick.

Posted by Anonymous | December 14, 2011 1:29 AM

5:05 what the F is wrong with you. The Rat and Little House of Savages...boring...umm yeah

Posted by Anonymous | December 14, 2011 7:23 AM

I agree that while The Walkmen would never make it on to my turntable, that dude can wail on vocals. Highly entertaining while being in the "safe for your mother or children to listen to" zone. In that respect, they remind me of The National. I think The Walkmen are the consummate opening band: they get are good, but not too good to overshadow the headliner. I think this is the niche that The National should occupy. They seem like an opening band to warm you up before the real shit happens.

Posted by Anonymous | December 14, 2011 7:57 AM

I have seen the Walkmen both as an opener and headliner...they do just fine on their own as a headliner..

Posted by Anonymous | December 14, 2011 8:20 AM

BEST BAND IN THE WORLD. SHOW OF THE YEAR!

Posted by Anonymous | December 14, 2011 12:03 PM

The National suck. Nick DiPaolo said so himself.

Posted by Anonymous | December 14, 2011 12:16 PM

The National 2007 > The National 2011

Posted by Anonymous | December 14, 2011 1:13 PM

everyone knows the walkmen kill it everytime they play. let's just call it like it is.

Posted by Anonymous | December 14, 2011 4:58 PM

the walkmen are the best band we have. everyone who says otherwise just shut the hell up, because you don't listen to music as good as everyone who pretended to like me is gone, bows + arrows, a hundred miles off, you & me, or lisbson. hell, even pussy cats knocks out your beach fossils or whatever hype shit is hot this year. so shut it.

Posted by Anonymous | December 15, 2011 10:37 AM

What time did The National come on stage?

Posted by Delta | December 16, 2011 11:03 AM

^ About 10:30. I'll ask Nick DiPaolo to confirm that for me.

Posted by Anonymous | December 16, 2011 11:39 AM

They're handing out free pillows and blankets for tonight's show. $2 extra for a teddy bear though.

Posted by Anonymous | December 16, 2011 3:42 PM

Is 10-10:30 for sure?
Thanks for the info.

Posted by Anonymous | December 16, 2011 6:21 PM

big fan of the national

Posted by jordon | August 10, 2013 3:05 PM

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