Often times we witness performances that are perfectly balanced between the subtle genre of the music and the intimate setting of a venue. For a band like The National, who many people put into the indie-alternative genre playing a venue like Red Rocks couldn't be anymore perfect. A band whose music echoes through meaningful lyrics and carefully orchestrated well balanced production. Matt Berninger and company have been doing this for years now, a band well established and with several accolades to back them up. Sunday night was the perfect setting for a show that I can easily consider one of the top three shows I have seen at the venue.
As the house lights dimmed the opening sounds of The Smiths "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want.." blared through the venue. The band ripped right into "Don't Swallow The Cap", an uneasy Berninger paced up and down between the song, almost as if he was nervous or looking for perfection from his bandmates. In fact he stormed off stage right after the first song only to make it right back for the opening chords of "Bloodbuzz Ohio". After the nerves settled the band played through their catalog of fan favorites. We even got a dose of some newer songs that band has yet to released. Judging from the response the songs would be a welcomed addition to their new album. Sounding a bit different from their older material the newer songs gave off a electro-type feel to it especially on the intro to "Find A Way", and "Sometimes I Don't Think".
Other notable favorites included "Fake Empire", which sounded perfect in the historic venue. The band wrapped up their set with a five song encore including "Mr. November", which had the biggest crowd participation, "Terrible Love", "Prom Song 13th Century (Frankie & Johnny)", and band staple "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks".
SETLIST: Don't Swallow The Cap | Bloodbuzz Ohio | Checking Out | Afraid of Everyone | Squalor Victoria | I Need My Girl | This Is The Last Time | Sometimes I Don't Think | Find A Way | Sea of Love | Apartment Story | The Lights | Pink Rabbits | England | Morning Dew | Graceless | About Today | The Day I Die | ENCORE: Fake Empire | Mr. November | Terrible Love | Prom Song 13th Century (Frankie & Johnny) | Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks