I owe this blog a bit more than what I have given here. I had the great privilege (and discipline) to see my favourite band, the National four times in two months – a new record for me! Someone asked me the other day if the band knows who I am at this point – I responded, “No, I’m not the kind of fan to approach band members.” Besides, I think the Reddit AMA meets most of the questions that I’d want answered.
Seeing the National for the tenth time in four years* – that’s six cities, four American states, and one Canadian province that I’ve hung out with the National in. Am I tired of it all? – Not yet.
As soon as I heard that the National were making a stop in Washington State for Sasquatch! and that my pals were keen to go, I knew I had to be there. I did Sasquatch! two years ago in 2012 and it was majestic, easily becoming the most beautiful festival I’ve been to, geographically speaking. Located in a gorge, the entire festival grounds is surrounded by rolling mountains. The main stage of the festival is the Gorge Amphitheater, where gigs are often held at the rest of the year beyond Sasquatch! Bearing many honourary titles for the spectacular sights that accompany, I can certainly agree that I have never been to a more gorgeous spot to see live music. The irony of all of this is that I jammed in so close to the band that I wasn’t actually able to take in the show and the sights. Furthermore, the gig was at 11pm, no rolling hills in sight. So, I guess I was there to see the National, but to take in the gorge in the day time.
It was their usual set of songs, mixed in with old and new songs – but only the crowd pleasing tunes, leaving old bangers like “All the Wine” and “Lucky Me” for a full-length gig. I’ve sort of got to the point where I know what to expect at one of their gigs and I can predict what may happen, they sadly make little changes.
A few differences I observed at this gig:
- They opened up with “Sea of Love,” which I knew by the harmonica fixed to Aaron’s neck.
- Matt using the Sasquatch! signage on stage to smash his head into during the very angsty tune “Abel”
- Multiple audience walk outs by Matt Berninger
- Due to the time restrictions, the band rushed Matt’s floppy, unpredictable stage presence to plug through the set
- Like the Massey Hall gigs, Matt smashed the vessel that was carrying his evening’s beverage. This time it was a beer bottle, which likely belonged to one of this band mates.
- They still ended with “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” !!!
Dwight K Schrute introducing the National at Sasquatch! back in 2008 introducing the National as “the greatest band in rock ‘n’ roll history.”
*see past posts for past gushes:
The National at Coachella April 2011
The National at the Air Canada Centre December 2011
The National at the Beacon Theatre, NY December 2011
The National at Barclay’s Arena, Brooklyn June 2013
The National at NXNE June 2013
The National at Laneway Music Festival, Detroit September 2013
The National at Massey Hall X3 April 2014
The National at Sasquatch! May 2014