Saturday, February 23, 2008

The National at BAM in Brooklyn 2/22/8

My weekend of concerts kicked off to a great start with The National. I could listen to the band every day, although I try to keep it to an every other day schedule. Thankfully, the music never gets old for me.

The concert began just after 8 with My Brightest Diamond, Shara Worden's musical project. She has played in Sufjan Stevens band and my favorite filmmaker Vincent Moon shot a beautiful video of her in a deep red dress, amongst the trees in a park in the city. Her background in opera melded with the strings of orchestral instruments and her three guitars. Her love of costumes added to the experience, as she took the stage in hot pink tights under a silver dress with a colorful tail and straps. I wish that I'd taken a picture of her onstage, as it was something else! Her voice was beautiful and the acoustics of the opera house were certainly ideal for her.

The strangest part of the experience at the opera house was that everyone stayed in their seats. I was okay with that for the opening act, but had asked Trevor and the guy on my other side if we'd be able to stand, but since we were in the front row of our section, I also didn't want to be that asshole. Unfortunately, everyone stayed seated for the show. I was a bit bummed when Luke told me today that the band asked everyone to stand on Saturday--if only they'd done it on Friday.

Even if we had to sit, the sound was amazing and we had a great view of the band. While The National is comprised of the five core members, plus honorary member Padma Newsome, there were a lot more than the usual six people on stage. Since they're based in Brooklyn, they were joined by many of the instrumentalists who play on their albums (Doveman on piano/keyboards, flute, clarinet, oboe, cello, violin, two trombones, and trumpet). Sufjan Stevens came out to join the band on Ada, as he'd helped write the song. For some reason, I've always had a weird musical crush on Sufjan, so it was neat to see him live for a song.

I imagined the set would be pretty similar to when I saw the band play in August, but was excited when they started to play Wasp Nest, which Sixeyes turned me onto from his Christmas mix. Aaron pulled out the acoustic for a new song which I will be calling Around the Bend. I was excited for Karen and City Middle in addition to the usual songs. The crowd finally livened during Mr. November, during which Matt left the stage and was screaming the lyrics amongst those in the front row. I looked down to the center of the Mezzanine and loved the group of about 8 or 9 guys who were just as animated. When About Today came on, I'll admit that I was a little bummed that I wouldn't get to hear Gospel, knowing that they seem to close with About Today. But my little heart grew quite excited when they returned for a second encore to do Gospel.

I was able to record Slow Show on my camera for my YouTube collection of National videos, but thankfully nyctaper was recording the show and I'm just starting to listen to the tape, as I've grown tired of the Oscars. The sound is amazing and will be such a welcome listen tomorrow in the office.

Enjoy the video from the show--and lucky you, my hands aren't shaky in the ones from this weekend! The setlist is below.

The National Live at BAM 2/22/8
1 Start A War
2 Brainy
3 Baby We’ll Be Fine
4 Slow Show
5 Secret Meeting
6 Mistaken For Strangers
7 Squalor Victoria
8 Abel
9 Wasp Nest
10 Racing Like A Pro
11 Ada (with Sufjan Stevens)
12 Apartment Story
13 The New Song which I'm calling Around the Bend
14 Karen
15 Fake Empire

1 City Middle
2 Mr. November
3 About Today

Second Encore
1 Gospel

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