The National took to the stage in Deer Lake Park amidst a stunning sunset and a deliciously warm summer night, the combination of which amplified an excited audience. The expansive festival grounds were full of excited fans, choosing from over 30 different food trucks and quite a number of alcohol vendors as well, which contributed to the festival feeling. As the sound techs began to set up the stage, people began to arrange themselves to get the best view, anticipating what was to come. The National’s tour consists of covering a plethora of Canadian and American cities until the end of October with opener Alvvays and guest vocalists.
The National has been touring for over 15 years, and has gained a cult following for their multimedia live shows. After playing their song Rylan, Matt Berninger (vocals), asked the crowd if they saw them the last time they were in Vancouver, to a deafening roar. We’ll take that as a yes. With video art projected onto three sides of the impressive stage, poetry flitting on and off the screens one letter at a time, and the customary elongation of the songs into blissful soundscapes, there is no question why The National has such a loyal touring audience. To experience their show is to witness grandeur that only the combination of talent and production value can accomplish.
With the other band members (two pairs of brothers, incidentally), Aaron (guitar, bass, piano) and Bryce Dessner (guitar, piano), and Scott (bass, guitar) and Bryan Devendorf (drums), the quality of the many soundscapes reached an apex of excitement with the whole crowd chanting along with Don’t Swallow the Cap.