The National // Live Review

the national

O2 Arena – November 26th

Tonight’s The National show is the last of their Trouble Will Find Me tour and is nothing short of a celebration, showcasing what they’ve been able to achieve since their formation as a band 15 years ago. It’s a celebration of the vast expanse of material that they have created, as they dip in and out of each album throughout the show, and a celebration of a tour that has extended over the past year and half, but most of all it genuinely feels like a thank you to the fans that have stood by them to make it all possible.

The band work through a stunning 2-hour set, with beautifully touching moments, heightened by the dizzying and entrancing light show with graphics providing the atmospheric backdrop to their intense, frequently melancholic and emotional songs. The band pull out all the stops in terms of concert production, it’s with this extra effort they manage to lift spirits and warm hearts. ‘I Need My Girl’ provides a glimmering, spine-chilling moment with the whole arena singing along in perfect harmony, the sound echoing and reverberating across the vast space.

Tonight it’s all about delivering a show that will delight those that have come to their gigs for years, and although it focuses heavily on the material from Trouble Will Find Me, the band bring out new classics such as ‘Sorrow’ (which they once played for 6 hours on repeat without stopping as a bit of an exhibition. Fortunately, tonight they only perform it once) and ‘Mr November’, where front man Matt Berninger erupts into a truly explosive character, smashing his microphone and causing a frenzy as he reaches out to the audience.

‘Terrible Love’ provides the climax to the 26-song-long set, and it sees Berninger up to his usual antics: jumping straight into the crowd and running around the periphery of venue amongst the seated fans whilst taking selfies, hugging and high-fiving everyone in his path. It acts as a direct and humble thank you to everyone who came to see them take the stage at the 20,000 capacity venue. The night is brought to a close by a beautifully stripped-back acoustic version of ‘Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks’, and sees the final emotional sing-a-long to their final show for what is meant to be, at least a few years.