Thursday, May 21, 2009


Two nights ago, I was fortunate enough to get to see The Shins at Terminal 5 in NYC. I’ll tell you, it was everything I’d hoped it to be. 

The opening act was Delta Spirit, and I can honestly say I’ve never heard of them before. The five of them were all very clearly and thoroughly passionate about their work, and they very easily won over the audience very quickly. They were very enjoyable, but I was thrilled to know that when they were done, The Shins were just moments away, and that kept me motivated through the pain developing in my legs. 

The lights dimmed and everyone lurched forward, starting to freak out as if it were The Beatles at Shea Stadium. When I saw Dave Hernandez come out first I was beyond ecstatic and seeing James Mercer really made it set in that they were here and only a few feet away.
They launched off with ‘Australia’ which is one of my favorites and I couldn’t help but get giddy. They then proceeded through the next two songs on Wincing the Night Away without stopping. After a song or two, they introduced a special guest joining them on violin, and when I saw her, I was visibly the only person flipping out: It was Rebecca Zeller, the violinist of Ra Ra Riot!

A few songs come and go, equipped with some new songs (that they didn’t have the decency to tell us the titles of), and a cover from, and I quote “One of the best f*cking bands in the world”, also known in James Mercer’s mind as The Beach Boys, all leading up to the best performance of the night: ‘Caring is Creepy’. Every one in the room was singing their lungs out to this song, so much so that even though I was very close to James Mercer I couldn’t hear him! When everyone is that connected and ‘into’ a song like that, how can that not affect you? 

After three more, they play the second best performance of ‘Sleeping Lessons’. It was another one where not only were the band happy and seemingly into playing it, but the audience was immensely enthusiastic about their choice as well. Even if they ended it right then and there, I can guarantee everyone would’ve been satisfied with the quality of their performance. 

For the encore, they play a Neil Young cover and the immensely popular ‘Know Your Onion!’. Throughout the whole show, in between songs, people would shout ‘New Slang’ prompting the band to reply with either a ‘We’ll get to all that” or James Mercer looking visibly miffed and then saying “That f*cking song…”, so the time had come for them to fulfill their promise. Everyone sang in unison and not frantically like the others. It was really very cool hearing "New Slang", the song that got me into The Shins, performed live. 

When the show ended, I can honestly say I didn’t want it to end. I loved every minute of it, and would easily do it again. I couldn’t stop smiling and I get filled with joy when I think of think of it! I still can’t get over that a Ra Ra Rioter was there either! 

As with every concert, there were a couple of disappointments. As you know, The Shins are a new Shins, with Marty Crandall and Jesse Sandoval out of the band, so they didn’t sound as immense or full like The Shins I’ve come to know and love. If they didn’t get rid of them weeks before the show, I probably wouldn’t have been as angry. And the only other turn-off was that they didn’t play ‘So Says I’ or ‘Turn On Me’. 

I would thoroughly recommend going to see them however, even if you only like them a little bit. They are a quality band and live act and it was well worth the wait!

///SET LIST\\\
Pam Berry
Phantom Limb
Girl Inform Me
Saint Simon
Red Rabbits
"New Song"
Mines Not a High Horse
Girl Don’t Tell Me (Beach Boys Cover)
"New Song"
Caring is Creepy
Girl On a Wing
Dry The Rain (Beta Band Cover)
Those to Come
Sleeping Lessons

Helpless (Neil Young Cover)
Know Your Onion!
New Slang


  1. Sounds like a great night :-)

  2. Awesome review. I was there and have been dying for the set list, thanks.

  3. thanks. there were two songs that we couldn't name - they were probably b-sides.

  4. Ha Ha! I love what you did to the pictures! Ungh! I really wish I knew what those two songs were! It was great wasn't it?

  5. "so much so that even though i was very close to James Mercer, I could not hear him"

    -technically the closer you are to the singer the more the mix from the main PA (which is the only place the vocals are actually amplified/projected from) goes over your head... so actually if you were right next to him without earplugs all you would hear would be his guitar amp behind him and none of his voice.... where as if you're at the back of the venue you will hear a more equal balance between vocals and other instruments.