Jimmy Eat World

House of Blues

January 10, 2005

Sometimes its better to get to a concert early and struggle through an opening act to get a better spot on the floor. Especially when the show is sold out, as it was Monday night for Jimmy Eat World's first-ever show in New Orleans at The House of Blues. Well, I thought I was smart by finding out exactly when the band was going onstage(The HOB is always on time with that). I thought I was gonna waltz in and be able to find an enjoyable spot. If you've ever been at a sold out show at The HOB, you know the ticket really does mean, "standing room only." So, I stood in the back at the left side. No good. I went upstairs and people were two deep surrounding the balcony. No good. Finally, I settled at the lower right corner by that post. At least I could see a little bit of the band there. So, this brings me to an observation that seemed obvious but didn't get me worried until last night: where I stand at a concert affects how much I enjoy the concert. I think we already know this objectivity thing is a bunch of baloney(it's a matter of how close you can get to objectivity), but would I have assessed the band differently if I had been with the pogoing and sweaty fans on the floor?

Jimmy Eat World played a pretty good rock show. The ten year-old Arizona rock band started the set off with "Bleed American" and "Authority Song," both from their self-titled platinum-selling 2001 album. After they played "Futures," the title song from their 2004 album, singer/guitarist Jim Adkins addressed the audience. He tried to make a clever comment about how the song they just played and their new album were named the same thing. Yeah. It wasn't funny. Was he drunk or just nervous? Actually, the whole concert Adkins was slurring his audience niceties(he could just be a born mumbler like Eddie Vedder), and the band was a little off with their playing. The songs were executed well enough, but the show only had a few moments of energetic danger. Both drummer Zach Lind and Adkins seemed tired. Adkins played a messy solo, missed a few guitar notes here and there, and his voice wasn't exactly studio-worthy. Instead of reaching for vocal notes, he just gave up when he couldn't make it. This all makes sense, though. Jimmy Eat World has been on a rigorous tour that's given them barely any breaks in between dates.

I'm glad the band didn't play any slow songs. With the energy created by so many people, I think Jimmy Eat World would have lost a lot of them. The band played "Drugs or Me," a great slow song off their new album, but in the middle they switched off to a faster new song. Actually, even the medium paced stuff didn't cut it. Things got a little boring in the middle of the set because of this. If I'm gonna be shoulder to shoulder with people, I want to be rocked hard. Not halfway.

If the band got off track, they always got back on. By the time the band got to "A Praise Chorus," the last song before the encore, Jimmy Eat World was unstoppable, and the crowd's sing-along filled the room. The whole venue really didn't come alive until "A Praise Chorus." The positive energy continued into the encore, when the band played "Pain," the first single off the new album. The band finished the show with "Sweetness," a wonderful closer. "Whoah-oah's" filled the room. A very cool moment. After the rest of the band had left the stage, Adkins crowd-surfed for a minute or two. If you've got the urge...why not?

The band was full of youngsters--those under 21. But, they weren't casual fans. People behind me in the back were singing words to obscure songs from the band's first two albums.

The band played songs from their last two albums, but they also threw in "Thinking, That's All," and "Lucky Denver Mint" from the previous two.

A good show. Maybe a great show. Either way, there were enough enjoyable moments to make the concert worth it.

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