The Wang Center in Boston is such a beautiful building. To sit and see a show in that room is pretty much a guaranteed good time. Heading there with my family last week to finally see The Shins live, I knew I was in for a treat.
James Mercer has such a special voice and an incredibly unique approach to songwriting, and I’ve been a fan for a very long time. For me, hearing a tune from The Shins always brings up vivid memories and emotions. Whether it be a summer on the Cape with the Chutes Too Narrow vinyl spinning at all hours of the night or standing at a certain T stop in Boston waiting for the train with Wincing The Night Away on repeat in my earbuds…the music is very special to me.
I was delighted to hear a bunch of “older” material – “Kissing the Lipless”, “So Says I”, “Young Pilgrims”, “Saint Simon”, and the biggest crowd pleasers – “Caring Is Creepy” and “New Slang”. I expected to hear a lot from Wincing The Night Away, and they did play “Pam Berry” > “Phantom Limb” and “Australia” among others. In my opinion, that album’s opener “Sleeping Lessons” as the set closer was one of the highlights of the show.
I will say the encore was a little underwhelming. I did really enjoy a beautiful solo acoustic rendition of the new tune “September”, which started it off…but the rest of the tunes weren’t very memorable. I do applaud the idea that encores seem to be back in the hands of the band lately. As an audience member, I like the idea of not knowing when (or IF) the band will come back on and what they’ll play. So more power to James Mercer and his band for jamming out to end a lovely evening in Boston.