The National Finish Incredible Three Night Stand at Massey Hall

The National's 3 night stand didn't disappoint.

The dust has settled from The National‘s residency at Toronto’s historic Massey Hall, presented by Indie88. For three straight nights, thousands of Toronto fans were thrilled by the band who took 15 years to legitimately cement themselves as one of rock music’s greatest bands. From playing to empty clubs to being nominated and performing at the 2014 Grammy Awards, The National is a band who has persevered. Last night they finished off their extended tour stop at one of North America’s premiere venues, Massey Hall, which has seen legendary performances across genres from the likes of Neil Young, Dizzy Gillespie, Glen Gould and more.

In many ways, The National’s story is a story about patience, will, and self belief – even in the face of immense failure. Frontman Matt Berninger spoke to Indie88’s Bookie about this:

Even if you don’t know what you are doing and you’re lost, do it anyway. Don’t let self doubt stop you from trying things, even if you fail. And even if you do fail, forget about it and pretend that you succeeded and move on to the next thing and keep going forward.

As a band we had a lot of failure for many years at the beginning and somehow we put some sort of delusional spin on it when we did these shows and literally no-one, zero people would show up…we would convince ourselves it was a win and that it was worthwhile. We could have thrown in the towel many times early in our career and I’m glad we didn’t.

The thousands of fans who packed Massey Hall this week are clearly grateful the band stuck it out. All three shows displayed a band committed to giving everything they had to the audience. Each set lasted two hours and included a mix of songs from the bands growing catalogue including favourites off their latest album Trouble Will Find Me, “Graceless” and “Don’t Swallow The Cap”. Older favourites thrilled long-time fans in the audience including “Slow Show”, “All The Wine”, “Wasp Nest”, and a closing sign-along of “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” which included an appearance on-stage from Toronto’s Hayden Desser.

Matt Berninger was of course in top form. When performing live, he’s a man possessed by the music, switching from impassioned crooning to unsettling screaming over the course of a set. Singing, however, is not enough of an outlet for expression for Berninger, who was smashing microphones, wine glasses, and of-course taking his nightly sojourn into the crowd which electrified the Massey Hall audience.

The National are a band who, now in their 40’s, are at the top of their game. They’ve toiled in the trenches for well over a decade, stayed true to their artistic vision and deserve everything they are getting.