Jimmy Eat World took the stage in front of a landscape of their hometown, Mesa, Arizona. Throwing themselves into their most recent single, “A Praise Chorus,” the band set the tone for the evening. From there, JEW (as fans refer to them) tore into their breakthrough hit, “Bleed American.” The crowd responded frantically with shouts of “salt, sweat, sugar on the asphalt” as the sweat went flying off of lead singer Jim Adkins’ face. Adkins manages to put so much emotion into every song that it almost becomes painful to watch. The band then kicked into “Your New Aesthetic” from their previous album, the musical masterpiece, “Clarity.”
The band pulled fairly equally from each of their two previous studio albums, the more recent “Bleed American” (also known as self-titled since the 9/11) and the aforementioned “Clarity.” JEW manages to put on one of the best shows on mainstream bands these days and this was no exception. The atmosphere at a JEW show is gripping, pulling the listener in and making the crowd as much of the experience as the band. This group performed up to par with the playing of JEW, making the experience that much better. The lack of crowd surfing was quite refreshing.
The band’s faster paced songs had the crowd dancing and singing their hearts out with themes that the kids can relate to. With lines like “We once walked out on the beach and once I almost touch your hand” from “If You Don’t, Don’t” JEW manages to be accessible to everyone. “The Middle,” with its inspirational lyrics, had the crowd smiling.
Highlights from “Clarity” were “Just Watch the Fireworks,” “Blister,” “On a Sunday,” and “Lucky Denver Mint.” The ever famous “For Me, This is Heaven” had the crowd swaying to the beat with their eyes closed. The line “if I don’t let myself be happy now then when?” lends the argument that if one can’t be happy at a JEW concert, then where? If not there, where?
The band’s friend Rachel joined the boys on stage to lend backing vocals to “The Authority Song” and “Table for Glasses.” “The Authority Song” from “Bleed American” is an up tempo song to bounce along to, while “Table for Glasses” is quieter and slightly more introspective, which is a common comparison between “Clarity” and “Bleed American” tracks.
The band pulled out the popular “No Sensitivity” from their split with Jebediah. Always a crowd pleaser, the addition in the middle of the song of “I thought it was obvious… so fucking obvious” had the crowd cheering. From “Static Prevails,” the band only chose to play “Call it in the Air” with guitarist Tom Linton lending the lead vocals.
The encore kicked off with “My Sundown,” the last track on “Bleed American,” a slow paced song regarding a person recognizing his or her own potential. Second to last was “Goodbye Sky Harbor” which was drawn out a bit longer than usual due to the band having to stop and attempt to break up a fight. The night ended with “Sweetness,” the third single off of “Bleed American” and an excellent ending to an excellent night.
Opening bands Bright Life and Taking Back Sunday bravely filled the earlier slots in the evening (perhaps not so bravely seeing as half of the crowd seemed to be there for Victory band, Taking Back Sunday). Bright Life played a brief fifteen-minute set of infectious pop rock from Santa Monica. Taking Back Sunday drew mostly from their new album “Tell All Your Friends” and it was obvious why so many people came out just to see them. Their set was crisp and their stage energy was high with lots of crowd interaction. They’re definitely a band worth checking out.