The farthest in advance that I have ever bought a ticket definitely was when I went to see the Shins. The minute I heard they were going to be in Albuquerque, the first time in about seven or eight years, I freaked and bought me and my brother’s tickets about four months in advance. If that show had sold out (it didn’t) I would never have forgiven myself. So as the concert slowly approached, I never fully realized I was going to see them until about a day before when my mom wanted to know how I was getting Patrick there. It really kind of just jumped out at me and the whole night just felt like a huge bonus night because I had paid my money so far in the past, I felt like this was just a free show. Sadly, my teachers didn’t feel the same way and I had a test and a paper due the next day, but in my heart, I knew the Shins were worth it. After that show, the Shins feel like they would have been worth anything.
The venue, the Kiva Auditorium, was not somewhere I had ever been before and I was pleasantly surprised with what it entailed. I knew it was assigned seats but I didn’t realize that how good a real auditorium could sound. No offense to Sunshine and Launchpad, but neither sound great. The Kiva sounded meticulous with how perfect every instrument could be heard.
Sad Baby Wolf was the first band, a group that had some ex members of the Shins. They were decent and the definition of a warm up band: just enough skill to entertain, but not enough to get the people on their feet. Because one of my biggest worries going into the show was that people would not show the Shins the respect they deserved and stand. Washed Out was the next band on and they also were great. Lots of energy and the fact that their music is really only chill vibes did not matter and they were capable to rock out just as hard as if they were a rock n’ roll band. In fact, I would say that I became more of a fan because of their ability to show me that their music meant more than haunting keyboard sounds that I had become familiar with on record. A couple of the band actually walked past me and Patch because out seats were so close to the aisle that they were running up and down to transport some of their stuff back to their van. Sadly, I realized to late because of how entrancing the Shins were.
There is a simple formula I use to judge how well I liked a concert. How much I liked the artist + how into the show the crowd is + how many songs I recognize and can sing along to = the amount my satisfaction. This show was the first show I have ever been to where I recognized and could sing along to every single song but one (but after a further investigation and a posting of what I thought was the set list onto setlist.com, I found out it was either an unknown song or cover so I felt better about myself). It was beautiful. I don’t know how else to describe it. James Mercer, beard and all, has to be one of my biggest musical heroes. I first became a Shins fan in 8th grade and I have basically memorized every single release they have ever done. When Port of Morrow was released this year, I was beyond excited that James Mercer’s genius was at work again. Being able to see him live and have my love of all of the Shin’s songs cumulate into an awesome concert was definitely one of my most favorite memories of this year. It is hard for me to pick out what my favorite song they played, simply because it is hard for me to even pick a favorite Shins song in general. I was just overall pleased with the show, pleased with my seats and the venue and please with the drunk Shins fans around me, finally being able to share in the glory of what may be the best band to ever come out of Albuquerque.