Jimmy Eat World - live in New York (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Jimmy Eat World

live in New York (2010)

live show

We Were Promised Jetpacks was a pleasant surprise as opener for this show. In fact, they were the clincher for me making the trip in the first place. I've been on this weird Scottish indie rock kick the last few months, though WWPJ really kicked it off for me with last year's These Four Walls. They made a lot of sense as an opener here--a band offering up a set of lively anthems instantly catchy enough to stick quickly, but with substance and enough stunning buildups to go around Terminal 5's 3,000-cap space and maybe convert a few onlookers into fans in the process. They actually had more fans in attendance than I thought, anyhow, as their UK singles were responded to warmly.

While they weren't as intense as when I saw them play in Brooklyn a few months back, they looked to be having a good, joyous time amid all Adam Thompson's eyes-clenched, life-affirming lyrics being howled to the audience. And those post-rock frills were fantastic, as were the two new songs that have seemed to make it into their current set list (the mathy, squiggly "Boy in the Backseat" is particularly excellent).

Set list (8:00?-8:37):

  1. Keeping Warm
  2. Quiet Little Voices
  3. new song
  4. Roll Up Your Sleeves
  5. It's Thunder and It's Lightning
  6. Boy in the Backseat [new song]
  7. Short Bursts

Jimmy Eat World came on stage slightly tardy, but with zero frills accompanying. Then they went, "Hey Brian, for the next 10 minutes we're just gonna play killer tracks from your two favorite albums of ours!" "Really? Thanks, Jim!" At least, that's how I remember that dialogue going down, because they went straight into the title track from Bleed American, followed it with one of the most searing (you know, comparatively) cuts from Clarity, and then went into the Promise Ring reference-loaded "A Praise Chorus." I was stoked. Some others in the crowd were too, but an unfortunately minimal number at that.

Then things cooled off for the majority of the set. They followed that trio of awesome with the new single, "My Best Theory," and yeah, it really does sound like the Offspring's "Gone Away"; the last two lines of the chorus match up perfectly. So weird. Also, this is when they brought out Courtney Marie Andrews (guest vocalist on Invented), who manned--femmed?--the keys and provided backup vocals. It gave a nice layer to things.

Not really being too familiar with the band's last three albums, some of the set was lost on me. The rest of the audience made up for it with big responses and loving sing-alongs to plenty of those mid-set numbers, though. And no matter what they played, they just sounded tight and professional as hell. I mean, yeah, you'd expect a band that's been around for nearly two decades to have this shit in lockdown by now, but it was still impressive. I just wish the dudes besides Jim Adkins would show a little emotion. Watching the drummer play gave me a mixture of entertainment and disheartenment; he was really just phoning it in--my drummer friend that came with me called him a "tapper."

Maybe it's old hat by now (I don't really know since I've seen the band like twice and those were opening sets at stadiums of sorts), but this particular version of "Goodbye Sky Harbor" was neat. Honestly, no one needs that shit to go all 16 minutes live. They cut it down to eight here and included a part where, after increasing the song's vibe to an electronic dance type thing, Adkins recorded a couple vocal hooks and then had Andrews loop it right there. It was pretty cool.

They saved the big singles for the end, and it seemed like the audience had been waiting a long time for them, having only really gone off even moderately for other chart appearances like "Big Casino" and "Pain" (although ballads "For Me This Is Heaven" and "Hear You Me" got freaked-out-girl screams when first intro'd).

Set list (9:03-10:16):
  1. Bleed American
  2. Your New Aesthetic
  3. A Praise Chorus
  4. My Best Theory
  5. Let It Happen
  6. For Me This Is Heaven
  7. Futures
  8. Big Casino
  9. Action Needs an Audience
  10. Dizzy
  11. Coffee and Cigarettes
  12. Movielike
  13. Hear You Me
  14. Evidence
  15. Work
  16. Blister
  17. Goodbye Sky Harbor
    Encore (10:19-10:36):
  18. 23
  19. Pain
  20. The Middle
  21. Sweetness