The summer concert series at Thompson’s Point continued on Thursday evening with Cincinnati-via-Brooklyn indie-rock institution, the National. They performed under a magnificent sunset, amid a backdrop of thunderstorm warnings that never materialized, conditions that offered a fine metaphor for the National’s music, which documents emotional tumult in cinematic fashion, transforming introspective gloom into grandiose gestures.

It was only the band’s fourth concert in the U.S. since the fall of 2019, several months before the COVID-19 pandemic ground the live-music industry to a halt. They returned to American stages with a horn section and a generous number of songs from their 2007 album “Boxer” and their 2013 album “Trouble Will Find Me” – arguably their two most-loved records. They swiftly gave their audience some of their best-loved songs, offering “Don’t Swallow the Cap,” “Mistaken for Strangers” and “Bloodbuzz Ohio,” three songs with a real punch. Any restraint on the albums is absent in concert; songs such as “Apartment Story” possessed a pop that doesn’t quite exist on the studio recordings.

In what should be promising news to any fans of the band, however, some of the evening’s highlights were three songs that should be on their next album, including the pensive “Ice Machines” and “This Isn’t Helping.” The strongest of these songs was “Tropic Morning News (Haversham),” an anthem driven by what sounded like a programmed drum track and soaring guitar lines. Clearly, the band found a new well of inspiration in their time away from the stage.

Singer Matt Berninger has a powerful voice, particularly when he stays down low in a handsome baritone, and his delivery is often conversational. He frequently sings like someone who is carefully choosing his words as he goes along, giving his lyrics a plaintive character. But when paired with Bryan Devendorf’s propulsive drumming, the words become larger than life. Dressed in a fitted shirt that conveyed a formal, professional air, he trawled the entire stage, occasionally emphasizing a line with theatrical, heart-on-sleeve gestures. It was a winsome approach to fronting a band, and by the end, when he disappeared into the crowd to perform “Graceless,” it was apparent the devoted fans near the front of the stage were enthusiastically receptive.

Although the sky never broke open, the concert didn’t entirely go off without a hitch. Just days before the show, scheduled opening act Japanese Breakfast announced they were unable to perform due to a COVID outbreak in their touring party – a sobering reminder that COVID is not yet behind us, and is particularly threatening the health and livelihood of touring musicians. Cassandra Jenkins opened in their stead and delivered a sublime set of songs that unfurled patiently, floating atop saxophone notes and driving rhythms. Hopefully, Jenkins and her band will return to Portland for a full concert.

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