The National couldn’t have done more to close out another memorable Glastonbury in style

Rather than sad-sounding indie for 6 Music dads, they deliver a set that’s anything but melancholic.

Words: Dan Harrison.
Photos: Patrick Gunning.


As the sun sets on Glastonbury’s final night, The National take to the Other Stage, proving just why they’ve become a festival staple. Rather than sad-sounding indie for 6 Music dads, they deliver a set that’s anything but melancholic, infusing their performance with a raw energy that belies their studio recordings.

From the moment they launch into ‘Don’t Swallow The Cap’, it’s clear this isn’t going to be a by-the-numbers headline set. Frontman Matt Berninger prowls the stage, his baritone voice cutting through the cool evening air.

The setlist is a carefully curated journey through the band’s extensive catalog. Early fan favourite ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’ gets an airing early on, while newer tracks from their two albums dropped last year sit comfortably alongside classics.

But it’s Berninger’s interaction with the crowd that truly sets this performance apart. Throughout the set, he repeatedly breaks down the barrier between stage and audience, at one point even fully vaulting into the crowd during ‘Terrible Love’. This is a band connecting with their audience, sometimes quite literally.

Despite the upbeat nature of the performance, The National don’t shy away from their more somber faire. Songs like ‘Fake Empire’ take on new relevance, with Berninger ruefully noting, “This song keeps getting more and more appropriate – that is really depressing.”

As the set draws to a close with the devastating ‘About Today’, The National manage to create an intimate connection in a festival setting, their songs of love, loss, and existential dread resonating across the field. As the final notes fade away, it’s clear that they couldn’t have done more to close out another memorable Glastonbury in style.