The National Close Out Impressive Chicago Residency at The Auditorium Theater – Photos and Review

Photos and Review by Stephen Bloch

A residence is a place you call home.  It might be where you live, entertain, work, or grow up.  Some people take up residency in special places when they want to spread their roots or find new scenery..  Some residencies are short lived because you know right away that it isn’t a good fit.  The National’s first residency in Chicago this past week was certainly an extraordinary fit, with four sold out shows in four days at the ornate and grand Auditorium Theater.  All four shows were opened by Nashville’s Soccer Mommy, who is continuing to ascend.

The residency came to a close on Sunday night, and they may have left their best for last (in the words of many Grateful Dead fans, ‘never miss a Sunday show‘).  These first four days of their tour were filled with many firsts as the band began their worldwide tour in support of their ninth album, First Two Pages of Frankenstein.  These four shows were about 75% unique in their setlists, with the final night consisting of 11 tour debuts and included “Squalor Victoria” and “Ada”, which haven’t been played since 2018. The crowd was abuzz the entire evening but became heightened when “Conversation 16” and “Secret Meeting” were played midway through the 21 song main set. The set closers “Graceless” and “Fake Empire” closed out each of the four night’s main sets, but the band varied their five song encores.  Sunday night included a stripped down Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks to close out their Chicago visit.

The National is at the top of their game.  Few bands could pull off what they did this past week. Few bands have a catalog that warrants a four night residency. Few bands keep reinventing themselves like The National have done over the past 20+ years. 

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