The National in Berkeley at the Greek Theater - Sept. 25, 2018

The National Shares Emotional Night with Fans at the Greek Theater

in SF Concert Reviews by

The National ended their two-night stint at the Greek Theater in Berkeley last night in truly epic fashion. The band with the deep vocals and dark melancholic lyrics put on a heartfelt performance filled with captivating music and charm, one that will likely be remembered for years to come.

Singer Matt Berninger was in fine form last night as he took the stage of the historic amphitheater. Although wearing all black and singing in his trademark sinister baritone growl, he cracked an arsenal of perfectly timed witty anecdotes in between songs that had the crowd in stitches for a good portion of the set.

Berninger’s charm and light-hearted banter served as timely relief from the otherwise dark and mournful theme of the band’s music. While similarities to Leonard Cohen are hard to miss, it’s the band’s hypnotic beats and ethereal melodies that elevate them to another level.

The timeless element of their tunes coupled with their magnetic stage presence are what’s taken these guys on a 20-year musical journey around the world and from the looks of it are showing no signs of slowing down. If the two sold-out shows in the Bay Area aren’t enough proof of that, just take a look at the fans.

All along the barricade were signs and banners declaring their love for the group, which led to one of the biggest highlights of the show. About midway into the set, the bearded frontman with hipster Ray-Ban glasses felt so moved by some of his fans trying to get his attention, that he climbed down from the stage and threw himself into the crowd. He connected with one lucky fan and what ensued was a tender moment between performer and devoted follower, a heartfelt act and one that solidified the sincerity of this band.

In an interesting turn of events, I connected with the woman later on my Instagram who explained to me that she had flown all the way from Brazil to attend the show that night. “I traveled all the way from Brazil to see these concerts and that’s how my journey ended,” said Larissa Andriolli. What a moment in time this must’ve have been for her and a lasting memory for the rest of us lucky enough to have witnessed it in person.

Photos by Louis Raphael

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An avid drummer whose discography includes albums on Digital Nations (a Steve Vai imprint), music critic Louis Raphael has always kept a pulse on the San Francisco music scene. After many years as the San Francisco Music Examiner for Examiner.com and AXS.com, he decided to start Music in SF® as a way to showcase what the San Francisco music scene really has to offer.

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