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photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher
The National @ Prospect Park - 6/19/14
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...
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
Sea of Love
Hard to Find
Afraid of Everyone
I Need My Girl
This Is the Last Time
All Dolled-Up in Straps
Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks