On Saturday night The National played a surprise last-minute underplay (announced earlier in the week) at The Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, N.Y. The 400-capacity theater provided lucky fans with an intimate experience before the band heads out on their tour this year playing larger rooms such as MSG in support of their new album, The First Two Pages of Frankenstein, which will be released next month via 4AD.

Ahead of the performance, there was fan speculation that the band may perform the new album in full (since the show was being professionally filmed), similar to when they debuted Sleep Well Beast at Basilica Hudson. The band confirmed this when they took the stage – or at least that it would be pretty much the whole album. They performed the album from start to finish in sequence, with the only omission being “The Alcott”, which just so happens to be the song featuring Taylor Swift.

The new songs had a mix of that classic sound of the band blended with some of the newer flourishes of their production style and sound post-Sleep Well Beast. The crowd reaction was extremely positive, and rightfully so, these songs were full of all of the band’s classic hallmarks, poetic lyricism, emotive textures and tones, and a blend of amped-up rockers and contemplative ballads. Their reaction was very much in sync with the band’s enthusiasm to share these new songs, with “Grease in Your Hair” and “You Mind Is Not Your Friend” standing out as particular highlights, and recently released singles “New Order T-Shirt” and “Tropic Morning News” sounding even stronger live.

Following the album the band treated fans to a handful of familiar cuts such as “Grassless”, “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” and “About Today,” along with the always welcomed join singalong of “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” which sent the crowd home into the snowy cold night brandishing a full smile, eagerly awaiting the album in its recorded form.


  1. Once Upon a Poolside @Info[Live debut]
  2. Eucalyptus
  3. New Order T-Shirt @Info[Live debut]
  4. This Isn’t Helping
  5. Tropic Morning News
  6. Alien @Info[Live debut]
  7. Grease in Your Hair
  8. Ice Machines
  9. Your Mind Is Not Your Friend @Info[Live debut]
  10. Send for Me @Info[Live debut]
  11. Don’t Swallow the Cap
  12. Bloodbuzz Ohio
  13. The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness
  14. Light Years
  15. Graceless
  16. Fake Empire
  17. Terrible Love
  18. About Today
  19. Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks

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