NYC – February 23rd 2009
On February 23rd 1999 Arizona four piece Jimmy Eat World released ‘Clarity‘ on Capitol Records, and marked the occasion with a release party in their hometown, supported by Reuben’s Accomplice. Fast forward ten years and several million albums later and they’re celebrating Clarity’s ten’s anniversary with a sold out ten date US tour, starting in NYC and ending in their hometown on March 7th.
Clarity is seen by many as a pivotal album for the band; it was the first record that Jim Adkins took over lead vocals from Tom Linton, with the first suggestions of pop filtering through into their emotive, heart on your sleeve style, a sound that really came into its own with Bleed American (2000). For many Clarity is a milestone album, and the fact that each of the ten dates on this anniversary tour sold out in a matter of hours is a testament to its timeless popularity, and the band’s dedicated fan base.
Tonight they bring back Reuben’s Accomplice to open for them – a nod to “teary eyed nostalgia” as Adkins explains. Jimmy Eat World take to the stage soon after 9pm and it’s down to business. They play the album from start to finish, in an almost perfunctory fashion that’s saved from becoming too business like by the sheer energy rolling off the stage. But there’s little banter and it’s not until a few tracks in that Jim Adkins finally breaks a smile and looks like he’s relaxed and beginning to really enjoy it.
A Sunday and Lucky Denver Mint are supplied flawlessly, with Adkins growling out the emo-tinged choruses. Linton’s moment of glory comes with lead vocals on Blister, but is almost drowned our by the crowd’s singing – this is one show where the audience seem to know the words even better than the band. For Me This is Heaven is the tearjerker of the set “Can you still feel the butterflies? Can you still hear the last goodnight?” is a goose bump moment, as Adkins sings it out, lit by a sallow blue light. Rick Burch (bass) keeps the momentum moving – but there’s a distinct lack of bass in the mix, it feels like the sound engineer really needs to crank everything up – although maybe us Brits are just used to having our ears ringing and ribcages pulsating along with the bands?
Goodbye Sky Harbour steals the show, as it meanders to a close, Adkins using loops to create a stunning layering of sound which doesn’t quite last the 16 minutes on the album, but isn’t far off. The demand for an encore is deafening and the band slip back on stage, grins plastered on their faces, to knock out Pain, Kill, a sublime rendition of No Sensitivity (taken from their split EP with Jebediah) with ” The world world won’t turn without you – I’m amazed you’re standing still. I’m taking my kisses back – I want my kisses back from you!” shouted back by the crowds.
This is swiftly followed by MTV favourite ‘Middle‘ which Adkins explains was ‘a silly song I wrote as a joke…I guess the joke’s on me now?” They end on an incendiary note with Sweetness – which has the crowd dancing and grinning, fists punching the air and people throwing themselves up to crowd surf. The band look visibly moved by the applause, as they exit beaming with smiles.
As the crowds drift out into the freezing cold New York night there’s two things overheard again and again – firstly ‘That was amazing!” and secondly ” Do you think they’ll do a 10th Anniversary tour for Bleed American too?!” We can but hope….