The National Mark David Letterman’s ‘Late Show’ Return With ‘Space Invader’

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The band welcomed the former Late Show host with a song from their new album Laugh Track

The National delivered a heartfelt performance of “Space Invader” to welcome back David Letterman to the Late Show on Monday.

Matt Berninger performed the single, from their newly released album Laugh Track, as the stage flooded with blue light and the paintings featured in the song’s music video flashed behind the band. “What if I’d never written the letter/I slipped in the sleeve of the record I gave you? What if I’d stayed on the C train to Lafayette? What if we’d never met?” sang Berninger from the lonely chorus. “What if I’d only just done what you told me/And never looked back?”

Earlier this year, Letterman praised the National during a conversation about music, calling them “your saddest friend’s favorite band.” 

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Prior to the band’s performance, Letterman told host Stephen Colbert on Monday that this was the “second time in my life that this is happening here tonight” — referencing the Foo Fighters‘ appearance on his final episode of the Late Show. When the question of musical guests came up for Monday’s episode, Letterman said he had suggested The National but learned that they were on tour. He was later informed that the band would be leaving to the tour to appear on the long-awaited return. “Because for a band, TV money is really more interesting,” the comedian joked before adding, ” I was really, really touched by that.”

He then gave a “tip of the hat” to the Foo Fighters, who “went way, way, way out of their way” to bid him farewell from the CBS show in 2015. “So those two groups, I’ll love them forever,” said Letterman.

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