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The National: Tiny Desk Concert

The first thing you might notice about this video is the change in surroundings: NPR recently moved to a new building, and though we worked to make the Tiny Desk as visually similar as possible to the old space — a process we recently documented with the help of OK Go — the ceilings are higher, the square footage more generous and the surfaces lavishly unsullied. The visuals will surely evolve in the months and years to come, as more tchotchkes and coffee stains accumulate on, around and behind Bob Boilen's desk.

In the days leading up to this hotly anticipated performance by The National — recorded at the obscenely early time (for touring bands anyway) of 10:30 in the morning — we'd gotten word that the group would strip its sound way down for the occasion, sticking to two acoustic guitars and a bit of hand percussion. What we got instead was a fully fleshed-out septet, complete with horns and piano; the band showed up at 9:30 to rehearse and sound-check.

Though singer Matt Berninger had barely rested his voice from a show in the area the night before, The National dutifully performed gorgeous acoustic renditions of four tracks from its fine new album, Trouble Will Find Me. Its members even treated the hundreds of worshipful gawkers to Building 2.0's first-ever Tiny Desk encore, in response to a roar of applause that could be heard in the far reaches of the newsroom downstairs. Here's to many more.

Set List

  • "This Is The Last Time"
  • "I Need My Girl"
  • "Pink Rabbits"
  • "Sea Of Love"

Credits

Producer: Bob Boilen; Editor: Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Kainaz Amaria, Parker Blohm, Denise DeBelius,Gabriella Garcia-Pardo; photo by Hayley Bartels/NPR

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)
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