Concert Review: Jimmy Eat World (10/7/10)

Jimmy Eat World has been one of my “bucket list” bands for quite a while. Imagine my excitement when they announced their new record, Invented, along with a supporting US tour in support of the release. In August I promptly made plans to attend their Chicago stop, at the Riviera Theatre in Uptown.

After an hour-long jaunt around the Chicago area, we arrived in Uptown, walking through the lobby area to the pulsations of Scotland-bred We Were Promised Jetpacks. They had a fun sound, and sounded tight. The vocals seemed a bit off, but my lack of knowledge of this band probably contributed to my not liking them more. We heard about 3-4 songs from them and then a twenty-minute set change followed.

Jimmy Eat World came on with a short, albeit rousing intro that flowed seamlessly into “Bleed American,” much to the delight of the sold out crowd. “Your New Aesthetic” and “A Praise Chorus” followed, and then lead vocalist Jim Adkins introduced their female keyboardist/vocalist, who he called a friend from home and they referenced their new record before launching into “My Best Theory.” This song has the distinct quality of being haunting and melancholy, yet infectious, making this one of my favorites of this year. Hearing this live was a highlight.

A mix of old and new played out the initial set of Jimmy Eat World, such as “Movielike” and “Action Needs an Audience” from the new one and old favorites “Big Casino,” “Hear You Me,” and “Dizzy.” The true highlight of the night would be the final 5 songs of the night.

They decided to close their main set with “Goodbye Sky Harbour” from Clarity, well-known for being their epic 16 minute song. Luckily they shorted this a bit (a longer encore!) At one point of the song, Jim Adkins looped his voice on top of itself several times and the band slowing fading until all the audience heard was the voice-loop. It was a beautiful and cool moment. After the inevitable encore, the band played “23”, and despite not being terribly familiar with the song, I still got chills hearing this live. The band then livened things back up with “Pain”, following it with “The Middle”, a childhood nostalgia track that was fun to hear live! The final song was “Sweetness”, which was complete with deafening “whoa-oh-ohs” echoing from the audience. The show could not have ended more perfectly.

It was oh-so-satisfying to cross this band off of my bucket list. Though I could tell the band is starting to age a bit and maybe not quite rocking out as much as they used to, they still pack a punch live. Invented might end up being one of my favorite albums of the year, and it was great to be introduced to this live.

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