The National -- no longer a band who lives in NYC --- are one of the many musical acts in NYC this week for the Grammys (Sleep Well Beast was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album), and they've been staying busy while they prepare for "Music's Biggest Night." On Wednesday night (1/24), Matt Berninger and the Dessner brothers played an abbreviated National set at The Ally Coalition's "Talent Show," and last night (1/25) the full band played a "Citi Sound Vault" show at Irving Plaza, which is an intimate venue for The National these days. It's an even more intimate venue for Eminem who plays the multiple night series tonight (then comes Childish Gambino).
"I got hit by a beer can at a Guided By Voices show here," Matt Berninger said as the band took the stage, and they proceeded to go into a set heavy on songs off of their new Grammy-nominated album. They also broke out older faves like "Mr. November," "Terrible Love," "Fake Empire," "Bloodbuzz Ohio," "I Need My Girl," "Don't Swallow the Cap," and more, unreleased song "Rylan," and their cover of "Peggy-O" from the massive Grateful Dead tribute album that they spearheaded. (Matt introduced the song as a Grateful Dead cover, and one of band members corrected him by pointing out it's actually a traditional folk song that the Dead frequently played.) As Matt has done many times throughout The National's career, he ran into the crowd during the encore (for "Terrible Love", which was dedicated to collaborator "Conrad [Doucette]'s dad"). It was a sponsored show with a difficult ticket, but the crowd was packed tight with cheering and clapping real National fans. You can see the full setlist and some videos below. Pictures are in the gallery above.
The National have several other tour dates coming up this year, including their own inaugural Homecoming festival in Cincinnati and the Aaron Dessner-curated Boston Calling. They also appear to have been teased on the lineup for the Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon-curated Eaux Claires festival.
Setlist: The National @ Irving Plaza for Citi Sound Fault, 1/25/2018
Nobody Else Will Be There
The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness
Walk It Back
Don't Swallow the Cap
I Need My Girl
Dark Side of the Gym
Carin at the Liquor Store
Day I Die