The National at The O2 Dublin – Review & Photos

The National O2 Dublin

The National played The O2 last Sunday, November 10th.

Who knew that a band who played Whelan’s a few years ago would fill The O2 and gather such a following in Ireland? Well, The National did it and it’s not really surprising. Their music has evolved, they over-delivered at every gig they had here these past years. People were remembering either the band’s gig at Live at The Marquee, the one at The Olympia Theatre a few years ago, or the small Whelan’s gig from November 2005.

Last night’s show had twelve musicians on stage, a setup worthy of the impressive show The National offered. Trumpets, trombone, violins and cellos contributed to the atmosphere.

Live images from backstage were being displayed on the giant screens, showing the band getting ready to come on stage. Greeted with excited cheering, the band arrived, waving politely. As usual, Matt was dressed impeccably, wearing a dark suit, with black shirt and tie.

The concert debuted with “Don’t Swallow The Cap”, a very good tune from The National’s latest album “Trouble Will Find Me”. This was followed by “I Should Live In Salt”, track one from the same album, and “Secret Meeting”. The fourth song had the audience singing along for the first time, on “Bloodbuzz Ohio”.

As the set progressed, the energy level also rose, both towards and from the stage. There was little interaction between the audience and the band, at least during the first half, but among the few words that Matt between the songs, he remembered their Whelan’s gig.

The main set ended with “Fake Empire”, another The National classic, but I think everyone felt the best was yet to come. Intensive cheering brought the band back for the encore.

Throughout the four songs of the encore, Matt jumped into the pit several times, hugging and high-five-ing fans while singing “Mr. November”. “Terrible Light” and “Vanderlyle” were saved for the grand finale, the highlight of the concert.

The National are a gem of a band. Discrete, modest, yet extremely thorough when it comes to writing and playing their music. Last Saturday they proved once again that they’re worth seeing live. Matt Berninger et co, plus the talented bunch of musicians who are joining them on tour, created a truly spectacular show that gathered momentum for a standing ovation finale. Brilliant gig!

Photos by Tudor Marian

Setlist The National, O2 Dublin:

  • Don’t Swallow the Cap
  • I Should Live In Salt
  • Secret Meeting
  • Bloodbuzz Ohio
  • Daemons
  • Sea Of Love
  • Hard To Find
  • Afraid Of Everyone
  • Conversation Sixteen
  • Squalor Victoria
  • I Need My Girl
  • This Is The Last Time
  • Available
  • Slow Show
  • Apartment Story
  • Pink Rabbits
  • England
  • Graceless
  • About Today
  • Fake Empire


  • Humiliation
  • Mr. November
  • Terrible Love
  • Vanderlyle


Lucy Ivan

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