Wednesday night saw The National complete their sold-out three-night residency at ACL Live Moody Theater, a first for the venue and a unique chance for fans to see the band in a more intimate space.
The sons of Cincinnati have a long history with ACL Live booking agent Jack McFadden, dating back to McFadden’s early days landing shows in Brooklyn at a venue across the street from the band's rehearsal space. That relationship paid off when he got the call that they were interested in playing Moody Theater for not one night, but three. With a set list that varied each evening and featured favorites reaching back into the earlier catalogue, the band kept fans guessing.
Vacillating between thrashing renditions of classics "Abel" and "Mr. November" and newer crowd favorites like "Pink Rabbits" and "Graceless," singer Matt Berninger stalked the stage, often with drink in hand, while brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner (who celebrated their birthday during the show) layered their guitars on opposite sides, alternately dueling and coming together at the edge of the stage.
While the set list changed nightly, each show ended with Berninger dropping the mic and leading the crowd in a rousing sing-along of "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks." The band appeared to be as enamored with Austin as the crowd was with them — Berninger mused that they may just "stay here forever."