A Triumphant Show
The tunes from The National's latest album, 'Boxer' are undoubtedly the kind that resonate most when you're by yourself, especially in the car at night, but the band pick a set that is also especially powerful and whips up quite a crowd at the Obelisk Stage. They kick off with the brooding, 'Start A War' with thrashing guitars and violin getting the crowd rocking and giving the track a far more energetic feel than on the album. Matt Berninger's deep vocals silence the crowd, while they play new anthems from the like, 'Mistaken For Strangers' and classics like, 'How To Gracefully Disappear In A Room' which is more jangly and upbeat and 'Abel' with its harsh cries of, "My mind's made up", which is a great choice to get the crowd moving.
'Squalor Victoria' with its cries of, "Raise our heavenly glasses to the heavens!" gets a fine salute of plastic cups and also has a more aggressive edge live. 'Apartment Story' is dedicated to the band's live engineer Brandon Reid who has who they salute for being up for hours trying to solve their problems, presumably the same problems which saw the band borrowing equipment from Andrew Bird and Cold War Kids, but there's no hint of unfamiliarity with any of the kit in the smooth running set.
Soon enough the rich piano intro to , 'Fake Empire' echoes across the field, heralding the fact that the set is almost over, it's a tune that comforts like an old friend but is full of energy and drive today. Matt Berninger stands astride the speaker to belt out the last few impassioned words of a fantastic set.