The American band The National has definitely earned the award for holding my attention the longest. This is thanks to a unique song entitled Sorrow, and its use by Ragnar Kjartansson for the happening A Lot of Sorrow.
For eight hours the band played the same song in front of a lucky audience at the MoMA PS1, in Brooklyn. It was in 2015 and I did not have the chance to see it at that time, but I discovered this incredible concert with the exciting exhibition of Ragnar at the Barbican Centre in 2016.
The performance had been shot by Ragnar himself, the film was scheduled as part of the exhibition, so you could immerse yourself for the whole day long in a small dark room at the Barbican, and approach the sensation that the original audience had experienced: hearing the same three-minute-long song during a period of eight hours, non-stop.
It could sound like a nightmare for most people, and the fact is that some spectators came out after three loops. But if you accepted to dive into this timeless dimension, it quickly became fascinating and hypnotizing. The band played with this repetition, but as well all kinds of variations (guitars or drums solos), the lack of one instrument when a musician had to leave the stage for a while, the necessity to eat and to drink just a little bit, but as well the fatigue, like when the singer Matt Berninger let the audience singing because he couldn't do it any longer.
I went to the Barbican for three days in a row to see the entire performance three times. The funny thing is that I'm still not fed up with this song, that I still listen to with a strong emotion.
The song Fake Empire opens Boxer, released in 2007.
Sorrow is on High Violet, released in 2010.