October has been a month doused with some of the best shows LA and its surrounding areas have seen and The National’s extraordinary performance at the Fox Theatre Pomona last Saturday, October 16, was no exception. Of the many times I’ve seen The National take center stage and move us with their fascinating sound, this show by far was the best performance I’ve seen them put on.
Kicking off this special evening of music was Owen Pallett (formerly Final Fantasy). This lil Canadian fellow is quite the genius when it comes to conjuring up some majestic sounds on his violin. To read the full review of his performance and to view the photo gallery, click here. Now on to the main course, The National.
With five studio albums under their belt, Brooklyn transplants, The National, have been commanding our hearts for some time now and their performance at the Fox Theatre in support of their new album “High Violet” was extraordinary. Setting the themed tone with a vibrant backdrop of a changing display of “violet” hues, the evening began with the lovely serenade that is “Runaway.” Front-man Matt Berninger’s charming deep vocals sent chills up my spine (although I, along with every lady in the room wished they were tender kisses) as the soft guitar chords and steady drum beats hypnotized everyone in the theatre, I knew we were in for something special.
Gracing us with an overload of emotion and joy with 19 songs of aural bliss, The National played every single stellar song from “High Violet” and a tantalizing selection of old treats. Berninger’s haunting vocals sent a train of emotion through anyone with a heartbeat. Especially when “Terrible Love” burst out of the stage along with Berninger himself taking his second stroll into the audience. Some musicians often walk out amongst the crowd, but Berninger set the bar for a crowd crawl. Coming through as though he were Moses parting the red sea, Berninger just about covered the entire bottom floor of the theatre. Hands were flailing through the air and fans tried to touch him as he passed through. It was truly something breathtaking, even more so to the tune of “Terrible Love.”
Another song that really did a number on me along with the crowd was “Conversation 16.” Dedicated to his wife, the creepy line “I was afraid, I’d eat your brains/”cause I’m evil” is one of the most beautiful choruses to hear live. Although it may seem nefarious, it’s quite the opposite and genuinely beautiful.
With the concert coming off like a serious, I’m gonna cry -type-of-show, our emotions were definitely on edge, but Berninger and the band were actually quite the comedians making random comments that just put a smile on your face and engaged a chuckle. From remarks about the US’ favorite allie in “England,” to the introductions of each band member, The National kept our spirits high.
Closing up the set with a four-song encore, The National impressed us with a lovely acoustic sing-along of “Vanderlylle Crybaby Geeks.” God damn it was beautiful and literally unified everyone in the theatre. Sending us off with feelings of love and admiration, we bid farewell to one of the greatest shows of 2010 (maybe even beyond). As we ventured to our cars for the drive home, my boyfriend and I opted for silence and turned the car stereo off. The National was still on repeat in our heads and we didn’t want anything to interfere with such a memorable experience.
Check out the photos and video of The National at the Fox Theatre Pomona below!
Words: Sandra Burciaga
Photos: Wei Shi
The National at Fox Theatre Set List
Mistaken for Strangers
Afraid of Everyone
Daughters of the Soho Riots
All the Wine
Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks (Unplugged)