Walking into the Fillmore Auditorium for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised at the elegant and spacious interior of the venue that is in stark contrast to its modest exterior. My awe at the sheer size and sophistication of the Fillmore was the first of many that would come in what can only be described as a superb night of music.
Opening the night was the Austin, Texas based group Brazos. Full of sweeping lyrics, upbeat rhythms, and at times, African sounding drums and maracas, the group entertained the audience throughout its whole set list of original sounding tunes.
After a grueling 45 minute sound check, The National finally took the stage to the erupting applause of the packed auditorium. Led by vocalist Matt Berninger, who is a natural baritone, the music produced by The National was refreshing to say the least. With the band accompanied by a duet brass section composed of a trumpet and a trombone, each song was musically stuffed with sounds that put the recorded music to shame. The fan following of The National was incredibly apparent by the sound of a thousand voices singing along to every song, with “Mr. November” being the climax of the night. The set list was nearly perfect and concluded with a profound acoustic, unplugged version of “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” with much audience participation. The night was summed up for me in the words of an exiting fan: “just a brilliant show.”