Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Concert Review: The National - 5/25/09 at the 9:30 Club

The National are one of my top five favorite bands in the universe. Their last two albums, Boxer and Alligator are "go-to" albums on my iPod, and I've now seen them live three times. As much as I love them, I have to say, they're one of those bands that is better on a recording than live. Not that they aren't good live, but there's something missing in the live performances. Their cool, polished sound doesn't translate perfectly, and they don't have the proper instrumentation (even with nine people on-stage tonight).

Tonight's show featured an awesome opener, Colin Stetson, a saxophonist who also played in the horn section for the headliners. He did some things with a sax that I did not know could be done. I highly recommend giving him a listen. Also, the horn section added a lot to a few of the songs they played, like "Fake Empire" and "Squalor Victoria".

The National played four new songs as well (see setlist). My favorite of the new ones was "Runaway", with which they opened the set. Here's the very shaky, poor-sound-quality video I took of it:

They played 15 other songs, mostly from their last two albums. I was disappointed not to hear "All the Wine" and "Looking for Astronauts", two of my favorites, but I'm sure they had to mix up the setlists, since they played two shows at the 9:30 Club last night.

Runaway (new)
Start a War
Mistaken for Strangers
Secret Meeting
Baby We'll Be Fine
Slow Show
Vanderline Crybaby (new)
Squalor Victoria
So Far Around the Bend (new-ish)
Apartment Story
Green Gloves
Fake Empire
City Middle
Mr. November
Blood Buzz Ohio (new)
About Today

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