Northerly Island // Chicago, IL // June 28, 2019
What is it about The National that brings people together? Oh, yeah. Everything.
The last time I saw The National was Lollapalooza 2018. I was assigned to cover their headlining set on the north side of Grant Park. While tens of thousands of people huddled together to get as close to Bruno Mars as possible, a fraction of Lolla’s attendees went to see The National instead. No offense to Bruno Mars, but those who went to see The National got a far more intimate, powerful performance. Their show at Northerly Island just a few days ago reminded me that this band can put on a powerful show no matter what the circumstances.
Before opening band Alvvays could start things off, all of Huntington Bank Pavilion had to be evacuated due to storms. Hundreds of people angrily marched out of the venue and stood under whatever shelter they could find, only to queue up again less than an hour later. Luckily, the venue extended curfew and both Alvvays and The National were able to play full sets (nearly 2 hours in The National’s case). With the release of their eighth studio album, I Am Easy to Find, the band have really hit their stride, both lyrically and musically. They opened their Chicago set with the title track from their new album, “You Had Your Soul With You”. Fans immediately began singing along and reaching for vocalist Matt Berninger’s hand as he floated from one side of the stage to the other.
Before the Chicago skies could burst forth again, The National played a 2-hour set, including “Santa Clara”, which hadn’t been played live in nearly 2 years. Berninger came out into the crowd to scream and sing along with the same passion as his fans. If you’ve never seen The National live, it’s one of the most cathartic experiences. You can scream all of your emotions out into the night sky, and your heart will be flooded with thousands of fans singing your favorite song.
The National are currently touring in Europe, and tickets are going fast. For tickets and more info, check out their tour page HERE.