The National Bring 4-Night Residency To Close With Ragged Finale (April 18, 2014)

Trouble Found Them on their final night in Chicago...
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All good things must come to an end...

The National closed their four-night run in Chicago with a show that was occasionally sloppier than their norm and with three songs not previously played the first three nights. I'm a little disappointed by all three of those bullet points: it's over, it had a couple rough spots, and they didn't throw as many new songs into the mix as I'd hoped. That said, it was still a fine show and worth the trip for me.

It gets exponentially more difficult to play songs I've not yet heard when you enter your ninth show and thus only one of tonight's three newbies was an "add" for me. We'll come back to that.

"Sea Of Love" was a great, energetic opening song and they wasted no time getting to a couple of new ones: "Anyone's Ghost" from High Violet and "Baby We'll Be Fine" from Alligator. Things got predictable after that and stayed that way until the "Available/Cardinal Song" medley was played. It came out on successive nights but isn't frequently played as rule.

"Fake Empire" closed the main set as it always does but was one of two songs that had to be restarted tonight when frontman Matt Berninger got out of sync with the band. The first song of the encore -- the third new song for this set and my lone "add" for the night -- "All Dolled Up In Straps" also had to be restarted. The latter is more understandable as this one hasn't been played in years (although they were coming out after the encore and Berninger left the stage an extra time to be sure about this). It was a rough two-song stretch but "Straps" found its footing before it finished and the rest of the encore went as they all do: "Mr. November," "Terrible Love," and "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks."

This wasn't the band at their best or most memorable and it's a shame to end that way but there were highlights and this has been a remarkable run. I'll do a complete post-mortem later but I'm calling it a night for this last night in the city.

Here's the complete setlist:

The National
Chicago Theater | Chicago, IL
April 18, 2014

  1. Sea Of Love
  2. I Should Live in Salt
  3. Anyone's Ghost
  4. Baby We'll Be Fine
  5. Bloodbuzz Ohio
  6. Don't Swallow The Cap
  7. Hard To Find
  8. Afraid Of Everyone
  9. Conversation 16
  10. Squalor Victoria
  11. I Need My Girl
  12. This Is The Last Time
  13. Apartment Story
  14. Available / Cardinal Song
  15. Pink Rabbits
  16. Humiliation
  17. Sorrow
  18. Graceless
  19. Mistaken For Strangers
  20. Fake Empire *
  21. All Dolled Up In Straps
  22. Mr. November
  23. Terrible Love
  24. Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks