Thursday’s performance at the Fillmore sees packed, enthusiastic crowd
The Shins performed magnificently to a sold-out crowd during their concert at The Fillmore in Denver.
The Shins were in full form during their performance on Thursday. The band took stage at around 9:30pm. after opening bands the Giranimals and Viva Voce finished their sets.
The Shins, along with new member Eric Johnson of The Fruit Bats, stepped onstage to the distant keyboard melody of “Sleeping Lessons,” the opening track of their latest album, “Wincing the Night Away.” Without a single world, the band proceded to play three songs in a row, after which front man James Mercer finally broke a smile and addressed the audience.
The music was loud and lively, and the band performed with the polished professionalism of seasoned musicians. Throughout the concert, each song was its own climax, enrapturing the audience with the encompassing wash of the band’s aura. The performance was upbeat and energetic, as was the audience, which was captured by the performance on stage.
At one point, a waitress trying to make her way through the crowd was reduced to shouting at the top of her lungs in order to make her passage from one side of the venue to the other.
“Sorry,” she said. “I have to shout, otherwise, no one pays any attention to me.”
Mercer’s voice remained strong and steady throughout the entire performance; he was able to hit the higher notes of his vocal range even towards the very end of the Shins’ performance, which lasted about an hour and a half. When Mercer addressed the audience, he had about him a certain sheepish uncertainty, as though he were unused to performing to such large crowds.
“The last time we were here, they had the (standing room) curtain drawn half way, and even then I don’t think we sold it out,” he said.
Ultimately, though, Mercer and the band appeared confident and pleased with the performance. Bassist/guitarist/keyboardist Martin Crandall also took many opportunities to speak with the audience, speaking with an air of upbeat silliness. Alluding to the lingering smoke of marijuana that hung in the air, Crandall glanced over at the food bar and mentioned that it smelled like pizza and then began to describe in detail the contents of a freshly baked pizza in an effort to tease any concert goers affected by the munchies.
Eric Johnson’s addition to the band was a crucial element in the band’s successful live performance. With the rising complexity of the Shins’ music, most notably evident on “Wincing the Night Away,” it would have been impossible for only four people to successfully replicate the Shins’ recorded sound. With Johnson’s addition, the band could play each song properly. Older, simpler songs of the Shins’ were made to sound fuller and more polished with a fifth musician added to the lineup. Songs such as “Caring is Creepy” off of the Shins’ debut album “Oh, Inverted World” were given new aura. The band also solicited the vocal help of Viva Voce’s singer/guitarist Anita Robinson, who also appeared on “Wincing the Night Away” as a backup vocalist. The Shins even asked for audience participation during their performance of “St. Simon.”
“My favorite part of the concert was when they asked everyone to join in,” Michael Bedard, a sophomore English major, said about the “St. Simon” performance.
After the Shins’ left the stage, the audience screamed for more, chanting “Shins! Shins! Shins!” and stomping their feet on the ground. The Shins returned to the stage like victorious champions of battle, thrusting aloft trophies.
“The Fillmore gave us these for selling this mother out,” Mercer explained.
The band played three more songs, thanked the audience again for selling out the venue, and left to the sound of deafening cheers.