The Shins: “This song will change your life.”

As of Sunday, October 1, 2017, all my dreams have come true.

“I would go to more live shows if babysitters were free” no longer applies to me. My almost 14 year old daughter successfully babysat/watched her 10 year old brother and they were both alive (and pretty much asleep) when I returned home from The Shins concert at 11pm.


Before getting into show specifics, I have to point out that there was an cavernous difference between opening band Spoon and headliner The Shins. Where Spoon was slick in their black pants and sports coats; The Shins were laid back in jeans, t-shirts and newsboy caps. Where Spoon seamlessly transitioned from song to song in their set; The Shins vibed in such a relaxed way, that the set felt spontaneous. The contrast was not competitive and somehow complimented each band while creating a very special night for music.


The opener’s-opener: Day Wave

-They were fine. Six members of an opening-opening band always worries me. I think about them stuffed in one hotel room, trying to divide up the paycheck.

-The singer only said the band name twice and even then, I had to guess at what he said.

-I typically really enjoy the synth pop genre of music (thanks in large part to my love of 80s music), but Day Wave’s songs didn’t really go anywhere.

-When I returned home and checked them out online, I was surprised to find that three of their songs had over 7 million listens on Spotify (and four had well over 1 million). For those that don’t understand streaming…these are INSANE numbers. I have more to share on this topic, but I think it is best to save it for another time.


With Very Special Guest: Spoon

-“With very special guest” means you get one hour and not the typical 30–45 minutes of an opening act.

-Spoon came out through massive plumes of smoke that sort of never went away. The music they produced was so loud it permeated my clothing. I loved it.

-It takes a lot courage or a lot of experience to let the keyboard player walk out on stage by himself and set up the first song like he is Larry Mullen Jr. Spoon has both courage and experience, so it totally worked.

-I once saw them play at a festival which is never a great measure of a band. I remember suspecting they were off that night and now I know my suspicions were correct. This time they were relaxed and confident and it showed.

-Unfortunately, “The Underdog” was underwhelming again. They just seem like they hate playing the song. I get that it’s the song that “everyone wants to hear” and they don’t travel with a horn section to really flush out the sound, but don’t hide it in the middle of the set and mail it in. Suck it up and play the stuffing out of it.

-Even with the criticism, Spoon, was solid. The set was cohesive and tight and they managed to maintain smooth transitions between songs and interact with the crowd.


The Shins:

-“Frolicking and singing amongst a massive flower field with a scary melting skull” seemed to be the theme.

-I love James Mercer’s voice. I just love it. There is nothing out there like it.

-I thought the questions, “What song are we playing next?” and “Am I supposed to have my guitar right now?” came off as honest and sweet. There was no pretense or robotic “How ya’ll doing tonight…are you ok?”

-I think I sort of have a thing for drummers (sorry hunny, I know you play guitar, but c’mon…a good drummer is something to hear and see)! The drumming cadence (is that a thing?) of The Shins makes my heart sing.

-Speaking of my husband…yet another concert he was dying to see and had to miss becasue of a work trip to San Francisco. Poor kid.

-They did two mashups. The first was with The Outfield’s “Your Love” with “Girls on the Wing” and “Turn a Square”…aka, their “rock block.” Then, they ended the show with a mash up between “Sleeping Lessons” and Tom Petty’s “American Girl”…obviously this one stings a bit now.

-Overall, I would see them again…actually, I can’t WAIT to see The Shins again. It made me realize this concert was in my music sweet spot. Awesome venue, great bands, no fireworks or odd audiovisual tricks to get in the way.


I’ve seen a lot of live music lately and here are my tips to my musicians friends…

1. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

2. For goodness sake, have fun. If you don’t, the audience can tell.

3. And speaking of the audience, talk to us. I know that most of you are under time constraints, but connecting to us makes us more likely to listen intently.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.