Tiny Desk

The National

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18 min 8 sec

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"

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

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