Review: The National - Chicago Theater: Rarities Abound On Night 3 in Chicago

'Alligator' gets center stage on The National's 3rd night in Chicago...
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I've decided to call Night 3 in Chicago "Alligator Night... or... All Bets Are Off." I've never seen a National setlist quite like this one and this was, as attentive readers now know, my eighth time seeing them. All I can say is... wow! 

The show kicked off with "Secret Meeting," with Scott Devendorf on guitar and Aaron Dessner on bass. This is a favorite of mine from Alligator and it's been awhile since I've heard it so I was pleased from the outset. We then went through a pretty standard sequence of Trouble Will Find Me and High Violet tracks before we got our first big surprise of the night.

Bryce Dessner said they enjoyed playing multiple nights in a city like they're doing because it allows them to shake up the setlists and they were about to do a song they rarely play. He quipped you might've heard this if you saw them back in 2005 before the band launched into "Lit Up." My best friend and co-conspirator 11 threatened me with 30 days of silent treatment if they played this during my vacation. I hope he wasn't serious about that. This was my first "add" of the night.

We weren't done with rarities as the band played the gorgeous "Geese Of Beverly Road" followed by their medley of "Available" and "Cardinal Song" from Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers. I've heard both of these but each only once and at this point my mind was completely blown.

"Slow Show" led into "Pink Rabbits," which moves me every time I hear it. I really love the high harmony Bryce adds. I guarantee you I'll be slaughtering that when I sing along with this in the car.

The encore opened with my second "add" of the evening, "Lean," the song the band contributed to the second Hunger Games soundtrack. I still haven't figured out what Matt sings at the end of that song but no matter- I loved this song the first time I heard it and it was fantastic tonight, Bryce's ambient slide guitar lines in particular.

Last night's show still holds the title because "Wasp Nest" was such a high value add even though tonight offered more in the way of rarities. Tonight would've won had they gone with "City Middle" rather than "Lit Up" in that obscure Alligator slot. No matter... we are on a big winning streak and there is still one last night to go.

The National
Chicago Theater | Chicago, IL
April 17, 2014

  1. Secret Meeting
  2. Don't Swallow The Cap
  3. I Should Live In Salt
  4. Bloodbuzz Ohio
  5. Demons
  6. Sea Of Love
  7. Slipped
  8. Afraid Of Everyone
  9. Conservation 16
  10. Lit Up
  11. I Need My Girl
  12. This Is The Last Time
  13. Geese Of Beverly Road
  14. Available/Cardinal Song
  15. Slow Show
  16. Pink Rabbits
  17. England
  18. Graceless
  19. About Today
  20. Fake Empire 

  21. Lean
  22. Mr. November
  23. Terrible Love
  24. Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks

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