For all you “repeat-one” type of listeners, yesterday was a unique chance to watch The National perform one of their all-time best hits (if the term is even applicable to The National) live for six straight hours. That’s right, for nearly two times longer than an average headline gig lasts. The event was a special performance in New York’s MoMa PS1 to celebrate the season finale of art space’s Sunday Sessions. Called “A Lot of Sorrow”, it was a brainchild of Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson and featured The National playing Sorrow off their 2010 album High Violet for six hours – 105 times, according to Pitchfork – in a loop.
Every single repetition was slightly (or sometimes quite obviously) different from the others, which was exactly the idea for the evening: “By stretching a single pop song into a day-long tour de force the artist continues his explorations into the potential of repetitive performance to produce sculptural presence within sound”, as says the official statement on MoMa PS1’s website.
What’s probably more striking than the band having played the same song for hours without cracking up or falling down from exhaustion (instead, they did deliver hauntingly beautiful versions of Sorrow that we’ll probably spend months collecting bit by bit from various YouTube videos), was the audience. Applauding in excitement each time the loop closes and the song starts playing once again, demanding to “play it one more time!” and reacting in the most cheerful and involved kind of way – that’s got to be one of the most earnest and heartwarming experiences for any musician. Not that it would be a good idea to have another repeat-one session again, no matter the band.
Meanwhile, The National added some more dates to their tour. Details can be found on their official website here. Also, the band will be answering questions on Reddit on May 8, so fans can already prepare their questions and follow updates on band’s official Facebook page.
The National’s new album, Trouble Will Find Me, is due out on May 20 in Europe and May 21 in the US.
PS: did we mention they played an encore? Guess what the song was.