As though we had a sound tract for our entrance, we arrived at Les Schwab amphitheater just as The National began their first song. In the hours leading up to the show, I had been watching the clock, counting the moments until I could sit amongst other lovers of modern indie folk. To say I was looking forward to the concert was an understatement. During the preceding week, I might have listened to High Violet 20 times to compliment the other 1,500 album plays since its first release in 2010.
The vibe at the concert was welcoming and inclusive in regards to company and weather. Children, older folks, hipsters, pataguchi hustlers, all were present and the typical ambiance of an outdoor Bend event was palpable, even for lack of K9’s. Even delicious food carts from the usual suspects were present. In the hopes it would quell some of the evenings winter temps, I opted to inhale a mountain of spicy green curry from Spork. Although a slight damp chill remained for the duration of the show, I was relieved it wasn’t raining and began to wonder if my shivers were meteoric or melody driven.
By 9:00pm The National headed off stage, only to re-emerge for a final 4 songs, the last of which blasted the crowd out of their expectations. Don’t get me wrong, the evening had been amazing, especially having had the band play nearly the entire High Violet album (all my preperation was worth it) and their newest release, I need my girl. However, when they unplugged and acoustically strummed Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks, their roots emerged. Not only did Matt Berninger urge the audience to join in, during the last repetition of the chorus, he tossed the mic in a disobedient fashion and belted out the lyrics without sonic assistance. It seems The National’s music is best played in its purest form and choosing to perform in this manor was like getting a second serve of curry after an already exquisite round. I LOVE CURRY.