It can be tough to see the band that you love suddenly become the band that everyone else loves too. Not that there is anything wrong with a band finding new fans through the fame that they ultimately deserve, but depending on the band, and the new fans that come flocking, it can be a tricky subject.
The National are the rare case of a band that has somehow stayed the same, even with all the new waves of success that have come their way. Sure the crowds have gotten bigger, and the stage set-up a little fancier, but this is still the same band I saw rock South Street Seaport for free in summer 2007.
The key to playing to larger audience, as well as festival shows, is to please new fans, but also try not to alienate old ones. The National smoothly know how to please both. Most of the night’s material came from their recent successes Trouble Will Find Me + High Violet, but they also tipped their caps to old fans with oldies such as “Ada,” “Mr. November” and “Available.”
You’d think when a band has the command of giant crowds that they would lose track of themselves and become a bit less modest. But it’s the exact opposite with these guys. You still see the twinkle in the eye of the Dessner twins when they raise their guitars above their heads in unison. The Devendorf brothers still maintain the rhythm section with that same effortless cool, like they always have. And then there’s Matt. He still gives you that intimate level of personality, whether its handing off his bottle of wine to a fan in the front row, accidentally dropping his mic stand almost hitting a security guard, or that fact that he still submerges himself into the crowd to push the point of “Terrible Love” with a few extra exclamation points.
This is still the same band that has captured my adoration for the past decade, and I’m glad that everyone else loves them too.