THE NATIONAL could make The Pop Cop turn up at the ABC in Glasgow 20 minutes before the doors opened, walk (briskly) up two flights of stairs, then make a beeline for the centre front row and park ourselves there for the next three hours like a giddy fanboy (and girl).Only a band as special as
And mon dieu it was worth it. Suitably warmed up by a beefed up Beerjacket (Beefjacket anyone?) and St Vincent (not really our thing), it was time for Brooklyn’s finest. If ever there were such a thing as a perfect performance, this was it.
The National treated us to an incredible 18 songs – in both senses – and our only gripe was over the classics they didn’t play: Wasp Nest, Karen, Lit Up, Looking For Astronauts, The Geese Of Beverly Road and Guest Room to name but six.
With The National you can never have too much of a good thing. There was the brash bluster of Secret Meeting, Brainy, Abel and Mr November, not to mention the untouchable beauty of Slow Show and About Today, the latter ending the night as they ran out of time to play scheduled closer Gospel (see setlist).
Singer Matt Berninger (below) was his usual twitchy, squirming but utterly endearing self. Clearly struggling with the repercussions of the smoking ban, he didn’t seem to know what to do with his hands without a cigarette.
The opening notes of every song was greeted with ecstatic recognition, there was a terrace-like singalong to Fake Empire and by the end a mini-moshpit had developed. Even Maximo Park frontman Paul Smith had made the trip to Glasgow to cheer on from the balcony.
Leaving aside the fact The National’s last two albums are the greatest pop stories ever told, what made the gig transcend to legendary status was that the crowd received them like the kings they are.
4 The National – Brainy (alternate studio version)