I bought Clarity when I was 17-years-old at Newbury Comics in Harvard Square. It's strangely fitting to see this tour, now nearly 10 years later, in Boston.
The album needs no introduction or explanation. It's one of my, if not single, favorite records ever. So regardless of the fact this show was at the newly opened House of Blues or the atrocious nature of Boston rock show crowds or the fact I cared little for the opening act, it seemed like an opportunity not to miss.
First and foremost, Reubens Accomplice opened with a lengthy set as they're the only other band on the bill. Seeming to be well-received by the crowd, they weren't really my thing but there was nothing bad about their multi-instrument lo-fi indie rock. They introduced fun audience interaction by having people toss their keys from hand to hand in the crowd, creating a nice surrounding percussion.
The highlight of their set came in the form of a heckler, some annoying stereotype of Boston, screaming out, "JIMMY EAT WORLD!" between songs. This guy was about four people next to me so after screaming he'd lean over to his friends and complain he wasn't there to see the opening band. I asked him to shut the fuck up a couple times to no avail, but the singer from the band had a better way of dealing with things. The following exchange then took place:
RA Guitarist: Hey sir that's enough now we get it.
Dude Brah: JIMMY EAT WOOOOOOORLD.
RA guitarist: Do you have a girlfriend sir?
Dude Brah: TWO AND A HALF YEARS.
RA guitarist: Two and a half years, eh? Does she ever complain that you don't kiss her before you try to fuck her?
The crowd exploded with laughter and the dude was shamed and that was probably the best way I've seen a heckler dealt with at this size show.
But enough nonsense. Obviously the set list for the main set of Jimmy Eat World was the complete Clarity record, and by complete I mean front to back. No backing out on the extended "Goodbye Sky Harbor," which became the highlight of the night as Jim and Tom layered guitars and vocals and keyboards on stage to a resounding finish.
The starter "Table for Glasses" was probably the second highlight of the night, as that song is brought to a whole new intensity in a live setting. It was also amazing, starting with this song and going through the set, seeing the variety of people in the crowd and how this album had such an impact on all of them throughout the years. An event like this is remarkable for the differences in the room being brought together by this sole release so many years ago.
The encore began with a surprising "What Would I Say to You Now," which was simply amazing. "No Sensitivity" followed, but then the show sort of fell off; not that Jimmy Eat World's performance was getting worse, but that it seemed the encore should have been performed first. "23" is a good enough song and the singles "Pain," "Work," "The Middle" and "Sweetness" all got a take, but it almost seemed empty compared to what was witnessed and enjoyed during the original set.
Despite the anti-climactic feeling of the encore and the sometimes shitty crowd, the $35 ticket price and the moderate opening band, this tour is not to be missed if this album meant anything to you growing up. The rest of it all is only bullshit compared to singing along, song after song, to what I'd call a perfect album. My only real complaint is the strange addition of songs to the tour repress of the sought-after vinyl, which simply bums me out. But if we're just talking about the show, I can't imagine any fan of Clarity walking away from this disappointed.