Posted in music | pictures on June 20, 2014

photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher

The National @ Prospect Park - 6/19/14
The National
The National

The National have taken quite a beating this weekend. On the first night of their sold out three-night run in Prospect Park in their hometown of Brooklyn, Matt Berninger cut his head and on the second night he began losing his voice (he said a moth flew into his mouth). You could tell Matt was weary by night 3, and his voice was still a little shot on the screaming parts, but the band still put on an excellent show.

The set jumped right into the hits, with "Start A War," "Don't Swallow the Cap," "Secret Meeting," "Anyone's Ghost," and more favorites coming before the sun had even fully set. It was almost jarring to realize how many heavy hitters we were getting right away. It was early in the night, too bright out for the light show to have any real power yet, and outdoors so you couldn't be taken over by volume, but here were The National casually playing some of the most beloved indie rock songs of the last ten years. The set really kicked in for me by "Sea of Love" off their newest album, Trouble Will Find Me. The song's driving triple guitars had The National sounding at their most massive, and the song's bridge saw Matt bringing his screams onto one of their most somber albums.

Another highlight of the show came from Trouble Will Find Me, "This Is the Last Time," when the song's big chorus abruptly cut out leaving only piano and clean guitar, and the more crazed light show shifted to a dark purple. In a show that included layered distorted guitars and Matt screaming multiple times, one of its heaviest moments came as he softly sung "Jenny I am in trouble, can't get these thoughts out of me." And when the Dessners and the band's backing vocalist added the "It takes a lot of pain to pick me up" refrain, it was a true show stopper.

That song was followed by some of the deeper cuts of the show, as The National offered "Lean" from last year's Hunger Games soundtrack (which they said was a new version of a song they'd previously cut from an album), into a medley of "Available" and "Cardinal Song" from 2003's Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers, the first time they'd included anything from that album all week. The rocking "Available" was the heaviest they'd sounded all night since "Sea of Love."

Then came the encore which, save for its first song (we got "All Dolled-Up in Straps" from the Cherry Tree EP), was the same it had been the two previous nights. Matt ran through the crowd for the rowdy fan favorite "Mr. November," followed by an upbeat rendition of "Terrible Love." And to close the show, the whole band (including the backing musicians) gathered on stage in front of the drums for a fully acoustic version of "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks," much like their pal Bon Iver (who sings on the studio version of that song) does at his shows with "Skinny Love."

Pictures of night 3, which MS MR opened, are in this post. Pictures of night 1 (with Phosphorescent) are HERE, and review of night 2 (with Lord Huron) is HERE. More night 3 pictures, with the setlist and a video of "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks," below...

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The National - "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks" at Prospect Park - 6/19/14

The National at Prospect Park - 6/19/14 Setlist: (via)
Start a War
Don't Swallow the Cap
I Should Live in Salt
Secret Meeting
Anyone's Ghost
Bloodbuzz Ohio
Sea of Love
Hard to Find
Afraid of Everyone
Squalor Victoria
I Need My Girl
This Is the Last Time
Lean
Available/Cardinal Song
Slow Show
Humiliation
Pink Rabbits
England
Graceless
Fake Empire

Encore:
All Dolled-Up in Straps
Mr. November
Terrible Love
Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks

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Comments (34)

I like The National but a moth flew into your mouth? Come on, man!

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 9:34 AM

Ariel Pink is looking pretty good these days...

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 9:41 AM

Was anyone bored at any time?

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 9:42 AM

Went to 2 of these shows and they were great as usual!

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 9:48 AM

The National are to Brooklyn as The Dropkick Murphys are to Boston

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 9:51 AM

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 9:53 AM

hummus...

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 10:07 AM

Enjoyed myself ... really nice evening.

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 10:11 AM

Super bored! Maybe I've seen them too many times

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 10:14 AM

fantastic night, great set, crowd was awesome.

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 10:41 AM

Brooklyn sucks so much ass

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 10:42 AM

the most boring uptight white band in the world = brooklyn today

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 10:42 AM

yea boring

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 10:50 AM

Great show and crowd was decent except I had the bad luck of standing next to two older drunk women who didn't even seem to know the band's music (but $60 each were spent to get in? Probably not) and the one felt like fighting with someone so she started blowing cigarette smoke in people's faces and throwing elbows to provoke a fight. No takers.

And behind me one dude was really into it, a real fan, knew the songs, knew all the lyrics which is fine - except that he sang along to every song at the top of his lungs...songs that are sung in low deep bass speak voice...at the top of his lungs.

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 11:09 AM

Calling all insomniacs! This stuff is for you!!

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 11:16 AM

Music for people that dislike music. Oh yeah, and for the happy kind of drunks as well.

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 11:42 AM

what was the D-bag meter at last night? lower than the last 2 nights?

bet the 2,3 trains in from wall st were full at 515.

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 11:42 AM

One of the better National shows in recent memory; great crowd even back on the lawn. The band had good energy and banter - they are not the same band they were 10 years ago so people looking for them to "rock more" will continue to be disappointed. But seriously, who the fuck is MS MR? They were terrible, but it was remarkable how they could take a song like "Dance Yourself Clean" and just evacuate all of the feeling and meaning out of it.

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 11:54 AM

Yeah, because Dance Yourself Clean was really about human potential and the meaning of life

The collective BV IQ continues to drop precipitously

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 11:59 AM

everybody's getting younger It's the end of an era, it's true.

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 12:14 PM

hey 11:09 - I must have been standing next to you. Crazy little area with the scream singer and the older drunk ladies. There was an angry aggro dancer in the mix too.

I was the solo "bro" - showered, clean-shaven, professional degree, some athletic ability. Pretty much the worst kind of person there is...

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 12:26 PM

he eats hummus wherever he goes

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 12:36 PM

The National makes me fucking sick

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 12:39 PM

"But seriously, who the fuck is MS MR? They were terrible, but it was remarkable how they could take a song like "Dance Yourself Clean" and just evacuate all of the feeling and meaning out of it."

I actually enjoy MS MR but, yes, that cover is TERRIBLE.

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 12:47 PM

thank god this run is over

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 2:02 PM

If they covered the LCD Soundsystem Song it is called "Dance Yrself Clean". Get it right or pay the price.

Posted by Ug | June 20, 2014 2:16 PM

fuck the national. did anyone see the documentary which is basically him treating his little brother and his band like complete shit and then wimpily "rocking out" and screaming and throwing himself on his knees to his cheesy dad-rock and throwing endless temper tantrums? fucken loser

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 2:38 PM

White people! Snooze to this band.

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 3:00 PM

Say what you will about the National, but they sure get the comment $ection humming...

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2014 4:51 PM

@ 2:38
that's not what the movie was about, if you paid the least bit of attention. and what are you doing going to see a movie on limited release, based loosely on a band you hate. dumbfuck

Posted by Anonymous | June 21, 2014 1:19 AM

I love the absurdity of "Their hometown of Brooklyn" for a band who lived in Ohio up until their 30s and make music that people in Ohio make.

Posted by Anonymous | June 21, 2014 1:22 AM

BRO, matt berninger lives in venice, ca. he dropped bk hard.

Posted by Anonymous | June 25, 2014 4:21 PM

It's a lot easier for a grown white man to stay drunk all the time in Venice

Posted by Anonymous | June 25, 2014 4:33 PM

^and cheaper.

Posted by Anonymous | June 25, 2014 4:37 PM

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