Jimmy Eat World returned to LA to play in front of a sold-out crowd at The Wiltern Theater. Reaching deep into their back-catalogue, stopping only at playing anything from Static Prevails, they left the audience begging for a second encore as they finally exited the stage. A far cry from one of their recent LA performances, whereby they played for 35 minutes and departed the stage with no encore, this performance really hit home the energy and clarity (no pun intended) with which they deliver their live performances. Singer Jim Adkins whispered a faint “thank you very much”, and exited the stage, his shirt soaked in sweat indicating just how much verve he and his band had just thrown at this performance.
Though ostensibly touring to promote their newly-released long-player, “Invented,” they treated the audience to an almost all-encapsulating review of their history. In fact, it wasn’t until their fourth song of the night that they actually ventured to play one of their new songs, “My Worst Theory,” the first single from the latest offering, My Best Theory. If they were at all concerned that the audience may not appreciate the new material, their concerns would quickly have been allayed, as most of the crowd sang along wholeheartedly to My Best Theory. Similar responses greeted them for other new songs, among them “Coffee & Cigarettes” and “Evidence,” evidence perhaps of a large and devoted fan-base, in addition to album leaks and illegal file-sharing.
Some of the highlights of the show included their playing all 13 minutes of “Goodbye Sky Harbor,” and guitarist Tom Linton taking the lead vocals for “Blister,” one of the standout tracks from their criminally underrated Clarity LP, which was released 10 years ago. A wonderful rendition of “Hear You Me” was met with a full sing-a-long, the effect only deflated by a certain number of the audience deigning to hold their lighters aloft for the duration.
Of course, they weren’t going to let the audience go home without hearing their most famous/popular tracks (thorougly nice chaps they are; Radiohead they are not), and the obligatory encore finished with “Pain” from Futures, “The Middle” and “Sweetness” from their Bleed American album which catapulted them to the level they maintain themselves at. Just on the cusp of something huge, yet remaining true to their fans and roots, a feat not managed by, say, Muse or Blink-182, the band seem to truly enjoy where they are at this stage in their careers. Their last two songs went down a storm with the audience, who responded with massive “whoa-whoa’s” in time with those of the band, and when they finally departed for good, and the house lights came on, the audience seemed to have to catch it’s breath before turning and making it’s way out to the brisk night air outside the Wiltern, where the house staff were already removing the band’s name from the famous awning out front.
Words and photos by Marv Watson.