You Might Need The National More Than You Think You Will

Last night The National played to a dense and frantic crowd at the Fillmore Auditorium. I don't really have the words to describe the scene, but it looked and felt like thousands of exploding stars, with each person in the crowd having their own semi-private reaction to beginning chords, whispered words or furious shouts. On more than one occasion I felt my chest get torn open, my heart get pulled out and held in air, dripping with blood, bruised and barely beating, in front of me. I could only look at it out of my periphery, fearful of the self-examination that would surely follow a direct glance. I stared at the floor. Then up at a chandelier. Then back at the floor, avoiding eye contact with my hovering heart at all costs. My eyes filled with salty water, the tides rolling back and coming in with a simple lyric or subtle hand gesture. I felt my limbs and organs atrophy as singer Matt Berninger rolled the lyric "think I'd better follow you around, you might need me more than you think you will." I finally made eye contact. And I saw my heart shaking and sputtering violently, a whirligig in hurricane winds. The rapid combustion was too much and when asked "How can anybody know how they got to be this way," it finally burst, scattering pieces of invisible ventricle and muscle through the air. As the music stopped and I slowly regained consciousness and motion I wondered how he could do can you stand up in front of thousands of people, explode your own heart and somehow pick the pieces out of the jumbled mass of fleshy asteroids created by the explosions of thousands of others and make yourself complete again?

- Josh Cain

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