To kick off night one of Jimmy Fallon’s special week-long tribute to seminal psych-rock band Pink Floyd, The Shins appeared on the comedian’s Late Night show to pay homage to the Floyd’s melancholic, psychedelic “Breathe,” the famous opening track of their landmark 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon.
The Shins’ cover is incredibly faithful to the original, delicate pedal steel and all, and singer James Mercer’s soft voice does an eerily spot-on job at evoking that of David Gilmour. Though “Breathe” is a short song, The Shins proved they can effectively emulate Pink Floyd—a notoriously hard band to cover due to the highly specific, spacious tonal quality of their music. (Mercer and company have actually covered “Breathe” on occasion during past tours.)
Moreover, The Shins’ performance provided a glimpse at the band’s new touring lineup, which includes singers Richard Swift and Jessica Dobson, bassist Yukki Matthews and drummer Joe Plummer (of Modest Mouse). The band jammed tastefully on the normally short tune and included “Breathe Reprise,” found on Dark Side at the end of “Time,” for good measure.
In addition to The Shins’ appearance, last night’s show also included an interview with Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason.
Fallon’s “Pink Floyd week” is being held in commemoration of Why Pink Floyd?, an exhaustive release campaign of the band’s remastered discography and tons of unreleased material from the vaults, which commenced today. The tributes continue tonight on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon with the Foo Fighters and Roger Waters himself teaming up for a rendition of “In the Flesh.”
Watch The Shins’ performance below: