Probably the most memorable part of seeing The Shins perform at the Commodore was when Russell Mercer, the frontman and central nervous system of the Oregon-based group, reached down to an injured and near-crushed-to-death girl in the front row. His hand reached down and linked to hers and the young girl effortlessly ascended out of the crowd, as if escorted by two angels. Battered, bleeding, and covered in a mixture of her own tears, sweat and vomit, the American Apparel-clad tween used her last ounce of strength to hold herself standing, teetering on the stage before Mercer.
The music stopped. The crowd collectively held its breath in bewilderment. Russell Mercer wiped a tear from the fan’s cheek and what happened next is the stuff of legend—the modestly dressed rock star belted a melody from his vocal chords so beautiful I swear he channeled the song of Apollo himself.
Simultaneously, Mercer smashed his hand across the strings of his guitar, releasing from his body a kind of radiant healing energy.
As if mimicking a scene from the faith healing television sermons of Benny Hinn, the girl was released from the shackles of her mortal wounds, as her cuts and broken bones mended before our very eyes.
From that point, the drummer quickly counted the band into a booming rendition of “Kissing the Lipless”, the final song in their set. Just as the last chord was strummed, the entire band vanished in a cloud of vapour. Just as we left the Commodore, my friend smugly pointed out, “I guess Natalie Portman was right. The Shins really will change your life!”