The National: Live at The Greek Theater

Clearly the editors of this blog are in love with The National. I saw them in Los Angeles at The Greek Theater in September 2019, which was actually my first time at the venue. My friends and I were in the nosebleeds, at an angle where usually the die hard fans on a budget are seated, but the outdoor atmosphere was amazing with perfect evening weather.

The National didn’t disappoint playing songs from their new album I Am Easy To Find  and intertwining some classics in the set. They opened with Rylan which was great for those already in their seats but then the hustle of everyone still settling in was disrupting. Now, don’t tell me thats just how concerts are because I’ve been to plenty and festivals too but it was something about this place that made me realize The National was more of an afterthought than the main feature. 

You could tell it was a moment for Matt Berninger when he announced he was going to play Guilty Party in the middle of the set, and that was cue for the finally standstill sea of people to awaken and take a piss or refill their craft beer. From up above, it was a movement of dark figures pulsing every which way. This seemed to be the rhythm of the audience throughout the whole night when songs that they couldn’t Instagram would be played. 

To be honest, I’ve probably been out of the game for awhile. I’m just bitter about my transition from pub shows in London that were raw and dedicated, to the large venues where I’m forced to sit and have someone’s ass pass to and fro in front of my face every other song. 

Given, I wasn’t forced to sit at The Greek, but admittedly its awkward to be the only one standing in the S Terrace L2 crowd while everyone else has their face lit by their phone screens. The small GA population down below were having the time of their lives, but that wasn’t even a quarter of the venue’s audience.

Bottom line the atmosphere was ultimately amazing. We walked up the hill, I was drunk during the journey, we laughed at the cars honking in gridlock traffic. The setlist was amazing and personally did not disappoint, at all. It was nearly perfect. After Pink Rabbits left me satisfied, the band took it a step further with England. The first few notes of that song and I started tearing up (I was sober by then, I promise) and was enough for me to ignore the crowd moving around me. Fake Empire closed the show before the encore and was too relevant with the dark hills behind the stage, the same kind of hills where the Hollywood sign sits among the massive houses and designer cars. It painted a full picture and only concluded what I already knew. Los Angeles and The National were killing me simultaneously in different ways. I loved the show and hated everyone around me. But I’m sure that’s something universal.