The National kicked off a massive worldwide tour on Friday, November 10 via a dramatic appearance at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium with support from Hand Habits. Playing songs from the two albums the group released in 2023, First Two Pages of Frankenstein and Laugh Track, the band also dug into their back catalog, unfurling various selections from the huge 10-record stretch that’s been 22 years in the making.
Frontman Matt Berninger and his band consisting of two sets of brothers—Aaron and Bryce Dessner, Bryan and Scott Devendorf—plus a small horn section, wowed the crowd. Berninger made frequent forays into the audience, while impressive lighting design and a collage-heavy audiovisual display lent the affair a distinct, vintage tone.
Interestingly, this was The National’s first indoor show in the Bay Area in quite some time. Since the onset of the pandemic, they’ve mainly delivered al fresco dates, like their turns at Bottle Rock, The Greek Theatre, and Frost Amphitheater.
Meg Duffy of opening act Hand Habits started the festivities with a guitar-heavy set infused with lots of love for the audience. She joked that The National and her group have a lot of fan overlap, due in part to both group’s appeal for “sad dads.”
THE NATIONAL’S SETLIST:
Sea of Love
Tropic Morning News
New Order T-Shirt
Don’t Swallow the Cap
The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness
Grease in Your Hair
Deep End (Paul’s in Pieces)
Day I Die
Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks