The National, British Summer Time, Hyde Park, 12th July

Perfectionism is a difficult trait. As a self-confessed perfectionist it should be an idea that I struggle to affix to things knowing my own issues, yet The National always slip through that net. It’s their own fault honest, not the ridiculous amount of things that I emotionally attach to them, so tied to missed opportunities and well pretty much everything. But, what better way to let that shine than on stage at BST Hyde Park 9even if they were only supporting Neil Young). I mean just look how beautiful that stage is…

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A support set may have been a greatest hits set, but who could complain when listening to Matt Berninger’s emotional baritone and his somewhat unnerving screams on earlier songs  ‘Abel’ and ‘Mr November’ off “Alligator”, with the latter even including Matt’s customary foray into the crowd. Despite us being smack bang in front of him, he hurtfully went to the opposite side of the sizeable crowd gathered. I’m taking this as a personal affront (but one that shall be rectified come November at the O2!).

Tracks from the most recent album “Trouble Will Find Me” were similarly drenched in emotion, especially ‘I Should Live In Salt’. Even with the sun beating down on the crowd, there was still the sombre mood stereotypically attached to the band. Bringing out both ‘I Need My Girl’ and ‘This Is The Last Time’ was always going to be a winner in my eyes, because yes I do still affix them to that excellent Mindy Project appearance (I still can’t quite get my head around the fact that The National, well Matt, watches The Mindy Project!), but they retained that beautiful heart stealing quality that is so stunning on record. Yes I nearly fired, so what?!

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My own personal highlights included ‘Sea Of Love’, if just for the sheer amount that the song means to me in so many ways, and everything they played off “High Violet” because that album is perfect in my eyes. ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio won out over ‘England’ for the title of most beautiful moment of the set , even with the latter’s use of the screens in the background to create the rainy backdrop we so readily associate with this country! The twins dedicated ‘Bloodbuzz…’ to their father who had flown in to see them from said state, tearing at my heartstrings as the band only can, with a rendition that was so clean and perfect it made me want to fly over to visit the middle-of-no-where state (not my words, but those of my new plane friend Katie, who was amazed that a band came from Ohio!). I suppose it doesn’t help that this has pride of place on my running playlist at the minute either…

Ending on ‘Terrible Love’ was a masterstroke, an opportunity for yet more raw emotion from the entire band. Heart wrenching, gut wrenching and every other wrenching you could think of, my tear ducts almost betrayed me at this point and let the flood out, but that thankfully waited until I was safely on my way home, and I somehow managed to keep it together. The same probably cannot be said for seeing them at the O2 in November when they wheel out ‘Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks’ but I really shouldn’t be held responsible for my actions when it comes to that song.

But enough of that. For my first time seeing The National (a crime yes, to say how much I love them) it was more perfect than I could imagine. My love for the band has increased exponentially and I do kind of just want a mini Matt Berninger or Bryan Devendorf just to carry around with me, it would make my days at work a lot better! And don’t even get me started on Mistaken For Strangers, I think that needs a whole other post!

The brilliant thing is though, that this perfect weekend has taught me a lot more that I could have ever imagined too. It took the band until they were almost 40 to really break through, so why am i spending my life currently attempting to get somewhere I might not even supposed to be? I’m 23, I don’t need my shit together yet. So now I’m concentrating on the stuff I love rather than falling back into the pattern of busting my gut at work for nothing. It’s someone else’s turn now. Get ready for me writing more, reading more, doing more and just generally adventuring. The world is my oyster, or so the cliche says…

 

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