Sunday, November 06, 2011
The National At The Esplanade
As the sun set, I gave the girlfriend a squeeze and whispered. "I'll see you first thing tomorrow." Still groggy from the meds, she gave me a weak little smile. With a slightly lighter heart today, I strolled out from the hospital and hopped into a cab to catch The National for the second time this year.
We were in Row B at the Theatre. I was plonked in Seat 16- one of my favorite seats for indie gigs. At the stalls, no one would be sitting down. Everyone rushed up front and hugged the stage. It was as civilized as make-shift mosh pits go. Pick Row B, and choose between Seat 12 to Seat 20. This position somewhat protects you from the crush of humans while remaining incredibly near to the stage.
A shiver ran up the spine as The National began with 'Runaway'. They would then proceed to play to the same setlist as what I earlier heard at La Trastienda in Buenos Aires. Tonight, I waited for Matt Berninger to come off the stage at 'Bloodbuzz Ohio'. He didn't. Okaaay. I guess we aren't as fun as the Argentines.
For the final 'Vanderlye Crybaby Geeks', the band abandoned all plug-ins and went full acoustic. Then, Matt Berninger walked off the stage, onto and across the chairs in the stalls, going up close and personal with the audience. Finally! We were right up in front of the stage. The friends were in prime position and got to share wine from his plastic bottle and were absolutely stoked. I gotta say that I'm not liking this gig-wear-suit look of his very much. It doesn't sit well with me. Both gigs, often, my focus wasn't on him. He has ditched the leather jacket for this rather unflattering image that's really aging.
Aaron Dessner and Bryce Dessner are such a joy to watch. They're totally in sync and creep me out with their almost identical facial features and, that beard. I felt like I didn't actually move my head very much and the guitarists remained one and the same. Heheheh. I can't for the life of me, tell them apart. I recognize them by their respective signature instruments of a 1979 Epiphone Sheraton, and the 1963 Fender Jaguar.