Glastonbury Review: The National

July 1, 2024

The National are my closer for Glastonbury 2024. But I have a guilty secret. You see…

…I prefer The National live to on record. Let me be clear, I like their albums, but tonight’s performance just underscored why I’d rather watch them live. There is a ragged element to the vocals which just adds something I can better engage with than the records. There highly sculpted songs have a rawness and energy here that I don’t find on the CDs. Truly, to me, they are better live.

They don’t disappoint. A storied career of dark and passionate songs, the latter aspect only enhanced as the vocals break down, a crowd who adore them, such a perfect combination. People unfamiliar with the National might have the impression they’re a dour band and this set is a downer to close the show. The truth is they have life and verve and warmth in their sound, and this isn’t a ‘downer’, this is a glorious chilling out from the days of fucking chaos and a slide into tonight’s rest.

The band note at one point they have “multiple songs about space,” but you can never have too much can you. Definitely worth being under the night sky for those.

I was struck during the set that a band of this quality aren’t popular enough to be deemed suitable for the Pyramid. They’re accomplished, brilliant, with a long career. It’s tough that they remain capped here by what makes them beautiful.

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