Posted in music on June 19, 2014

by Johnny Zachman

The National Celebrating Brooklyn (more by David Andrako)
The National

The National played Prospect Park last night (June 18th) for the 2nd show out of 3 at their home-borough venue. Having seen the band perform in so many less fitting places (from Barclays to Big Cypress), it was refreshing to finally catch them again on their home turf. "A lot of our marriages were consummated in this very park," joked singer Matt Berninger, "right where you're standing!"

For a long time fan of the band, the show's setlist felt like a bit of a field day, with "Daughters of the Soho Riots," "Ada," "Baby, We'll Be Fine," "Lit Up," "All The Wine" - and even "Exile Vilify" from the Portal 2 soundtrack all performed. We even got a visit by Sufjan Stevens for vocal assistance on "Afraid of Everyone."

"Daughters of the Soho Riots" was a particular highlight for me. It was performed with incredibly delicate attention and brought the audience to a notable hush. As the song concluded, Matt explained that a moth had flown into his mouth "during the most depressing part of the song," and as the show went on, the singer seemed to be losing more and more of his voice. "I can feel the moth down there, thinking," Matt explained a few songs later. "He's obviously depressed. He's just walking in circles."

The National have grown into their signature sound by juxtaposing gorgeous classically-inspired music with a fractured, imperfect singer stuck right in the middle of it all - and I was struck by the fact that the band actually sounded more beautiful when Matt's voice was completely exhausted. I wasn't sure if he was going to make it all the way through some songs, especially the relatively high "Pink Rabbits," but he powered through the 20+ song set with remarkable dedication.

And, despite cutting his head on the previous night, the singer still jumped offstage and wandered through the crowd for both "Mr. November" and "Terrible Love," stealing a fan's iPhone and videotaping himself sing the song's final chorus before chucking the device back onto the stage. In one especially endearing moment, the singer punted a glass of wine into the front row, only to quickly break through his badass bravado to immediately apologize to the people he had wet.

The National has always been so appealing to me because they operate as a band of humans - humans singing about human concerns - imperfectly sometimes, beautifully at others - but honestly always - and on this night, especially during "Fake Empire" when Matt's wound re-opened and blood started running down the side of his face, they felt even more human than ever before.

Lord Huron opened the show.

Check out pictures from the first night (Phosphorescent opened). Head to Prospect Park now if you've got tickets for the third (with opener MS MR).

Night 2 setlist below...

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The National in Prospect Park -- June 18, 2014
Don't Swallow the Cap
I Should Live in Salt
Mistaken for Strangers
Ada
Bloodbuzz Ohio
Sea of Love
All the Wine
Daughters of the Soho Riots
Afraid of Everyone
Squalor Victoria
I Need My Girl
This Is the Last Time
Baby, We'll Be Fine
Lit Up
Apartment Story
Sorrow
Pink Rabbits
England
Graceless
Fake Empire

Encore:
Exile Vilify
Mr. November
Terrible Love
Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks
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Comments (28)

"And, despite cutting his head on the previous night, the singer still jumped offstage and wandered through the crowd"

Ummm, he does that at every show. It's their "thing". National fans think is it so original.

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2014 8:26 PM

SHIT AND SHIT AND SHIT.

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2014 8:38 PM

Blood? That's pretty cool.

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2014 8:48 PM

This band sucks

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2014 9:36 PM

Nice review, thanks.

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2014 9:52 PM

It's Coldplay for hipsters.

Posted by JR | June 19, 2014 10:07 PM

i love is work!

Posted by arcondicionado | June 19, 2014 10:23 PM

Was Matt sloshed again? Does he ever do a show sober? I wonder how his wife deals with him being drunk all the time, it must be like having another kid to look after.

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2014 10:51 PM

Not really a fan of the band but that song Runaway is pretty dope. Of course it's nowhere to be seen on these setlists.

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2014 11:06 PM

This band is not obscure enough for me.

You guys ever heard of Lick My Balls? They're great. Experimental. All good music is experimental. They just finished there latest experiment. It's called "Lick My Balls." It's the record that's most, you know, them. Self produced which I think was the right way to go. The title track "Lick My Balls" was made using nothing but crickets. Experimental. This is the official video.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Re72di5phM0

You have to listen to it a bunch of time before you can get it. It's kind of Springsteen (early stuff) but more experimental. Experimental.

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2014 11:14 PM

^Trying way too hard

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2014 11:18 PM

The thing about the national is that zzzzz.....

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2014 11:25 PM

I like all the wine, I saw trail of dead once and the one singer crawled through the crowd and this guy followed him as far as he could spanking him, he looked so proud of himself

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2014 11:46 PM

Wait wait wait... Pics or it didn't happen.

Posted by Super Brooklyn! | June 20, 2014 12:07 AM

for sure played the best set this night. loved the alligator cuts. glad i was there, they played beautifully and people that don't like this band are just desperate for attention

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 12:28 AM

This band is on of the most boring things in our solar system.

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 6:07 AM

This band is really exciting and their sets are beyond exhilarating. Also I just pissed out of my ass. A dark warm stream of watery feces.

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 8:30 AM

"... people that don't like this band are just desperate for attention"

Oh goodness, go away now, you child

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 9:05 AM

Is there a picture of Matt buying wine from SVE while she worked at Astor Wines? That would be like the hipster Martin & Malcolm, or more recently that pic of Jeff Buckley and Elliott Smith

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 9:08 AM

they were way better night 3 than night 1

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 9:09 AM

11:06, Runaway is by Kanye I think you're confused

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 9:17 AM

"Was Matt sloshed again? Does he ever do a show sober?"
get a life, buy a gun, KYS

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 9:27 AM

Are you fucking kidding me with this setlist WANT.

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 9:49 AM

go fuck yourself ben kronberg!

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 10:23 AM

i watched paint dry last night, it reminded me of the national

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 10:25 AM

YO DJ PUMP DIS PARTY

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 10:29 AM

9:17
For you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSRtesvKWlo

Now suck my nub, freshman

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 11:48 AM

The National is the small-curd lowfat cottage cheese of the rock world.

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 12:12 PM

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