Sunday, June 22, 2008

The National @ The National Theater RVA

I figured I'd write this entry before I forget how amazing the show was. And by that I mean I won't be forgetting anytime soon. It was their last night on tour in June before they go overseas. I couldn't grab a set list, so I'm not sure I can do the order before the first encore exactly, but for the most part it's close I think.

Start a War
Secret Meeting
Squalor Victoria
Baby, We'll Be Fine
Racing Like a Pro
Slow Show
Daughters of the SoHo Riots
Mistaken for Strangers
Wasp Nest
Apartment Story
Fake Empire


Green Gloves
All the Wine
Mr. November


You've Done It Again, Virginia
About Today


I may have missed some. Hopefully someone'll post it so I can edit the real one later. And I'm sure there will be some shitty YouTube videos posted soon from cell phones also.

Thanks to Sean for hooking up the VIP tix. Everyone working at The National Theater was awesome. Friendly. Helpful. Not dicks at all. I was really surprised. Meaning usually there's someone who has to be an asshole for some reason.

Centro-matic was really good too. We missed the first few songs, but they sounded great, and I recognized some stuff from Love You Just the Same, which I used to listen to a lot my senior year of college. It's a great record and I need to break it out again.

But the National were just amazing. Padma Newsome was indeed there (he wasn't there first time I saw them almost 3 years ago) and was insane. His energy was amazing, and he had so many touches and flourishes not really heard on the records, which is of course one thing that can make a live show even better. And they had a trombone and trumpet player there too, and they were one probably at least half of the songs, making especially the end of "Fake Empire" incredible.

Everything, though, was on point, and the sound was beyond my expectations. The VIP section was fairly packed, though there weren't a lot of us. We, I guess, had some kind of higher end VIP passes and were allowed to go on the smaller balconies leading down to the stage on the side. The one where the old guys from the Muppets sit and bitch about everything. So yes, we had the perfect view. And we got to look at the "pedestrians," as Sean put it. And good Lord was the show packed. Tons of people everywhere, and everyone was going nuts. The crowd was great. The band was great. The energy was great.

It ranks up with some of the best shows I've seen, and is easily now in the top 5. I was telling Sean, too, that living in small town western Pennsylvania, I didn't grow up with bands playing at my fingertips, so great shows mean a lot to me. We have hour and a half drives to Pittsburgh and Cleveland, yes, and most of the shows I've seen have been at The Grog Shop. I've seen Don Caballero, Aloha, Six Parts Seven, Tristeza, Swervedriver, DJ Shadow, The Twilight Singers, and many more. I'll always love that venue.

But unlike Richmond back in the day, shows were always an experience. I remember talking to Jeff Garber (formerly of Castor, whose first CD still is one of my favorite records of all time) back in the day and I remember saying he was almost tired of going to shows. That blew my mind. Cities where shows take place are amazing, but it's easy to take that shit for granted.

I'm rambling now. We got free tickets for Daniel Johnston tomorrow, but I'm not sure I even want to go. I don't think it can match the experience, and I want to have it around a little while longer before I go there for another show.