The National bring the best of both worlds to Glastonbury 2017

They've found the place they belong.
With a band like Radiohead headlining the opening evening at Glastonbury, the way has been paved for slow, elongated tracks that opt more for atmosphere than immediacy. Day two sees The National take second from top billing on the Pyramid Stage, below Foo Fighters and above Katy Perry, putting them in a tight spot. Do they stick to their guns, or do they go for the populist approach and try and garner as many new fans as possible?

Rather cleverly, they decide to opt for a little bit of both. Starting things slowly with ‘Sea Of Love’ and ‘Fake Empire’, you sense the crowd are probably on the come down after Katy Perry, but the draw of The National comes from a deep understanding rather than an immediate blur of choruses and big sounds.

Filling the set with an equal selection from across the board, including a few new tracks, singer Matt Berninger even uses the platform to talk about politics, albeit in the states, before heading into ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’. It’s the last three songs of the set that sees The National prove why the belong near top billing, though. ‘Mr November’, ‘Terrible Love’ and new track ‘Turtleneck’, each more fast paced and erratic than the last, results in a sea of fists flying into the air.

The National have reached a point where they’re now playing head slots and arenas. The magic is still all there, though. Be it in the form of delicate or aggressive songs, each flavour has something special. That’s why they’ve finally reached the place they belong.

You can watch The National’s full set via BBC iPlayer here.

The National played:

Sea of Love

Fake Empire

The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness

Walk It Back

Guilty Party

Day I Die

I Need My Girl


Bloodbuzz Ohio

Mr. November

Terrible Love


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