So I saw The National for the third time this year – this time it was at Radio City Music Hall. Quite a change from seeing them at the Bell House in March. Before the show, one of my friends said that the show probably wouldn’t be the same since the lead singer Matt Berninger wouldn’t hop off the stage like he normally does, but it turns out that the size and formality of the venue is no hindrance to Berninger’s performance. As if painstakingly following a script, Berninger did indeed leave the stage on a few songs.
But the real magic happened during “Abel.” At least, it did for me. Berninger jumped off the stage and started pulling that oh-so-long mic chord behind him as he walked up the aisle in the theatre. For a few seconds, I lost sight of him. And then, there he was, right outside my row. And then… what? He started climbing over the seats and ended up stumbling right into Row WW, Seat 409 – my seat. As he stood haphazardly balanced on the seat behind me, he leaned over, grabbed my shoulder to steady himself and put the mic right in my face as he sang. And, though I know nearly all of the lyrics to their songs and the chorus to “Abel” in particular is embarrassingly simple, I admit I froze a little and was too stunned to sing along. After my moment had passed, Berninger continued on his way, climbing over the seat in front of me and then heading back to the stage.
The above was just an excerpt from my review for Brooklyn Vegan. Check it out here.
There were a lot of haters in the comments section for that post. Mostly they were hating on the band or the sound quality at the venue, but one person commented that the review seemed like it was “written by a 10th grader for the high school rag.” Initially, this got me down a little. I need to be edgier with my reviews, I thought. Then it hit me. I felt exactly like a fifteen-year-old girl when Matt singled me out. It was seriously insane. For the 15-20 seconds that he stood their in my seat, I actually don’t remember hearing anything, which I think is why I couldn’t bring myself to sing along. It was as if my brain made a snappy decision. What are the most important senses in this situation? OK. Sight and feeling. And my hearing just temporarily vanished in order to allow me to really take in the scene in front of me and be hyper aware of Matt gripping my bicep. Complete sensory overload.