Going Places with the National Parks

“And if you’re looking for light
Just keep running to me
‘Cause you just might find it
Where the river meets the sea”

This is the bridge to “Ghosts” by The National Parks. I first heard it a little over 4 years ago and I remember being struck by the beauty of that bridge and the instrumental part that followed it. I listened to this song on repeat for the rest of the day and then bought the album that it was on. If there a way to wear a digital copy of an album out, I did it to that one. Since then, I’ve been blessed to be able to support their pledge campaigns for their Until I Live album that came out in 2015 and their Places album that came out this past September. I’m a huge fan of all of their music, but I will always hold a special place in my heart for “Ghosts” as my favorite. Lyrically and musically it is just beautiful simple perfection.

When I first started listening to their music, I definitely knew that it would translate to an amazing live show. So I knew that I had to find a a way to see them live some day. I kept watching and waiting for a show that was close enough to attend. It would take nearly two years, but I saw that they would be playing at the SWSX (South by Southwest) festival in Austin, Texas in March of 2016. Austin is a little over 6 hours from my house but it was on a Saturday and worth a trip to finally get to see one of my favorite bands. So I formulated a plan and made the trip with my brother and a couple of friends. On the way down I reached out on twitter and asked if they’d play “Ghosts” during the set I was going to attend. They said they’d try to make that happen. Sadly there were technical issues at the venue which delayed the start so they weren’t able to play a full set with the shortened time. Even with the setback they still were able to put on a amazingly spirited show and confirmed my suspicions that they would be incredible live. I also got to briefly visit with Brady, Megan, and Sydney after the show. They told me to keep an eye out because they were going to be coming back to Dallas sometime in the summer.

Sure enough, I saw that they would be playing at the Prophet Bar in Dallas in July of that year and I made it a point to make the journey to be able to experience a full show; I’m so happy I did. Austin was a crazy energetic show, but that Dallas show blew it out of the water. They played all of my favorites except for one. I’ll let you guess which one. Despite that, it was an amazing experience; and on top of it I got to stay and spend some time with them after. They revealed themselves further to be genuinely great people who truly care about their fans. It makes it easy to want to follow, show up, and support them.

This past March (2017) they put out word of their third album set to be released in September. One of the perks available was to attend a listening party with them near their home in Utah. I signed up for that perk with every intention of getting out there and hanging out and listening to the new album with them. Unfortunately the timing didn’t work out where I could make it, but fortune smiled upon me and they announced a show in October in Denver for the tour following the release. I was able to work it out that I could fly out there for that show. It was so excellent to hear all the new songs live. Probably my favorite would be “Esperan├ža.” I just love the back and forth between Sydney and Brady in that song.

That brings us to February of this year. They announced that they were going on tour with Ron Pope. One of the shows was bringing them to Dallas the first part of March. I immediately bought a ticket because that was a close enough show to make it. To my surprise, I ended up in Denver on February 9th for a ceremony and they just so happen to be playing in town that night. So as soon as I realized that, I bought a ticket and went to that show. I was able to visit with them for a long time after their set there. I enjoyed getting to let them know what a great experience it was to see them play time after time and share with them some of the things that I was looking forward to. Again, they showed how they genuinely cared about me and what I had to say.

Last night I experienced my fifth time seeing them perform live. Once again they took it up a notch. It was their last show on this tour and they left everything on stage. Although the time visiting after was short, it was still incredibly meaningful. I left once again feeling energized and blessed by the experience. I can’t wait until next time. To Brady, Megan, Sydney, John, and Cameron thank you so much for what you do; please come play in Oklahoma and if it wouldn’t be too much trouble, please play “Ghosts.”

I encourage anyone reading this to check out The National Parks and buy their music!

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