My Thoughts on Jimmy Eat World, Edmonton 2011

This was one of those shows I never thought I’d get to see, and if I did, it would be a total disappointment. I was excited to see this show, don’t get me wrong, but I unfortunately went into it fearing the worst. I expected the set to be one of two things
1) A whole lot of new songs and one or two classics
2) Sad attempts at the old songs, completely butchering them and thus leaving a bitter taste in my mouth for years to come.
Thank god, this show was neither one of those cases.
The night started with a half-hour long set from folk singer/songwriter Colleen Brown. She played at Edmonton’s Folk Fest in the summer of 2010 and did an amazing job. This night was no different. The band’s whole style is like Neko Case with a little more late ’50s and early ’60s pop influence engrossed. The band was tight and she performed absolutely amazingly, but the Edmonton Events Centre may not have been the best venue for her. The acoustics were a little weird for her style, too much reverb in the room, and her overall style requires a very intimate setting to really appreciate how amazing she and her band are. If I saw Colleen Brown at a much smaller, more intimate venue with acoustics that complemented her sound more, her set would have probably been a whole different experience.
Shortly after Colleen Brown and her band left the stage, on came Jimmy Eat World. I prepared myself for some semblance of disappointment but had in the back of my mind to try and just appreciate the whole experience. I was completely blown away. Jimmy Eat World only played 3 or 4 songs off of its newest record in the two and a half hour long set and paid homage to almost all of its records; the only record they didn’t play songs off of was its 1993 self-titled debut, but good luck meeting anyone who owns that record.
Because of how varied the band’s set was, I want to do something different for this review. Instead of giving a general overview of the whole show, I’m going to talk about how it felt hearing every one of my favourite songs.
First off, they played “Lucky Denver Mint.” The song was a mild hit in 1999, being on the soundtrack to the Drew Barrymore film Never Been Kissed, but it seems like the power of Bleed American kind of blew this mild hit out of the water. Still, Jimmy Eat World busted out this song and did a fantastic job bringing us all back to the late ’90s again, even if for only one song.
Next, a bit later on in the set, the band played “23” off of its Futures record. This is the best song off of that record but was never a single. I always found it funny that the singles off of the band’s records were always the worst songs on the record. I don’t know if they do this on purpose or not, but they do obviously recognize this as the band played many non-singles song this night. “23” is a 7 seven and a half minute long song and it was played the whole way through. The song is even more amazing live than it is on record and I was left with goose-bumps throughout the whole song. It’s one of those really special songs to me that holds a really special place in my heart and brings me back to when I was younger, more idealistic, and simply looking forward to the future. I didn’t think anything could top hearing “23” live, and then the band topped it something fierce.
To close its pre-encore set, Jimmy Eat World played “Goodbye Sky Harbor” off of its Clarity record. I never thought I would ever get to hear this song live. It clocks in at about 16 minutes long with an interlude that drones for a good 12 minutes of it. I can see how it possibly wouldn’t work live, but goddamn I love that song. But, Jimmy Eat World busted out that Magnum Opus anyways. They cut down the interlude a bit, but at the end of the song, there was an electronic segment where frontman Jim Atkins dropped his guitar and started playing a xylophone. This was a fantastic performance of the song and a great way to end the set, pre-encore of course, when the band busted two big hits from Bleed American, “The Middle” and “Sweetness.”
This really was an amazing show. I can’t say enough good things about Jimmy Eat World and they’ll always be a band that holds something really special in me. It’s almost inexplicable, I hear one of the songs off of Clarity or Bleed American and something just stirs in me. I’m brought back to summers the summers while I was in Junior High and I’m on the beach in Sylvan Lake; or, it’s my last year of High School, I’m planning my future, and realizing what’s really important to me in my life and what really isn’t. Jimmy Eat World has been with me all along the way in many important stages of my life. Seeing them live was a really important and pinnacle moment in my life as well. I’m working through University, trying to get my adult life in order, and I’m seeing this amazing band with some of the most important people I have ever surrounded myself with.
I’m never going to forget this night.


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