Despite pretty steady touring over the past decade, I had only seen The National once before last night. I caught them in 2009 at First Ave in Minneapolis. Since then I’ve been kind of down on the band, with High Violet and Trouble Will Find Me failing to live up to my expectations. Sleep Well Beast, which I’ve only had the chance to hear once so far, seems to be a turn in the right direction.
The band is in Chicago for a show with the Obama Foundation, which will also feature Chance The Rapper. Matt Berninger & co. decided to add on a FREE show at House Of Vans that had people lining up for hours in the cold to guarantee a spot.
They stuck mostly to songs from the last couple albums, though they did make time for “Mr November” and “Apartment Story.” “Fake Empire” was on the written setlist, but got cut during the show. They ended with a cover of The Ramones song “KKK Took My Baby Away,” dedicated to current asshole-in-chief (my words) Donald Trump.