American rock band The National with Canadian indie-pop group Alvvays performing at Deer Lake Park in Burnaby, BC.
About eleven years ago I saw The National along with Portland rockers Modest Mouse, with Johnny Marr of The Smiths on bass, open for Georgia-bred band R.E.M. at Deer Lake Park.
It was my first time at this venue, it was my first time seeing any of these bands, and it was one of the most memorable concert I have ever seen.
Seeing The National back at Deer Lake Park was one of those full-circle moments. In fact, during their set, the band even spoke about opening for R.E.M. on that very stage. Their drummer Bryan Devendorf pointed out that the exact drum kit he was playing today, he had opened fresh from the package at that show just before their set. It was nice to see the band reminisce and see them emphasize the importance of that tour and that show for them and their career.
Opening this show was Canadian indie-pop group Alvvays. They showed off their nineties-inspired sound under the harsh heat of the end of day sun. The gathering crowd clapped and swayed along, as they poured into the venue and took position near the stage.
Alvvays band lead Molly Rankin is a treasure to watch. Her vocals echoed from her heart as her fingers summoned captivating tones from her black and white guitar. The more I hear from this group the more I love them.
The National then took over the stage. To the surprise of many, Hannah Georgas and Kate Stables joined the group on stage as vocal additions for the majority of the night. They offset the whimsical, drunk-poet singing style of band lead Matt Berninger with their haunting songbird formations. It was a great pairing.
The group’s performance was on point the entire night. Each of the eight touring members delivered heartfelt contributions, cohesively pooling their talents together to form emotional and goosebump-raising songs.
The cherry on top was Matt, with his emotional, perfectly-imperfect vocals dancing through the air and through your soul.
The ultimate moment for me was when they performed Mr. November. It was powerful and beautiful. You can see a fan-shot recording of the performance below.
I want to thank the musicians and their teams for a transcendent night out.
Please come back soon, we miss you already.
The National setlist
Rylan Quiet Light The Pull of You Hey Rosey Don’t Swallow the Cap Bloodbuzz Ohio Guilty Party Oblivions So Far So Fast Where Is Her Head I Need My Girl All the Wine Day I Die The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness Pink Rabbits You Had Your Soul With You I Am Easy to Find Graceless Fake Empire
Encore: Light Years Mr. November Terrible Love About Today Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks (acoustic crowd singalong)
Crowd-shot footage of Mr. November by The National