Live in Vancouver (04/26/17)The Commodore Ballroom - Vancouver, BC
By Bobby Gorman
When a band’s been around for 24 years and have nine studio albums under their belts, you sometimes forget about some of their songs.
Deep down you know them, but you haven’t listened to it in a year or two – maybe four or five years even. The hits instantly come to mind but those hidden gems linger under the surface, waiting to be pulled to the forefront.
Then that vey same band decides to do a rare tour through your town and you jump at the opportunity to see them. You sing along to the hits, pop up your head, dance like an idiot and have a fun-filled evening.
Suddenly it happens, you hear that chord you haven’t heard in years, the lyrical couplet that cuts straight through you, the vocal harmony that gives you shivers; and the whole night is elevated to a higher plane. You lose yourself to the music, to the moment and all your worries melt away.
At least that’s what happened when Jimmy Eat World passed through Vancouver last night at the Commodore Ballroom with Philadelphia’s Beach Slang.
Covered in a never ending fog of smoke and bookended by two street lamps, the band weaved throughout their ever growing catalog. They rarely spoke (Jim Adkins himself even mentioned this, saying he always hated speaking in front of everyone and felt he sounded like an idiot), but when they did, they used their words wisely. They joked, encouraged the crowd, professed their love for Beach Slang and their thankfulness for everyone taking time to come to the show.
Opening with You And Me from last year’s Integrity Blues, it didn’t take them long to jump into their Bleed American album as the title track came in second in their set list. Despite the juxtaposition, the set flowed surprisingly well. For a band that has high energy rockers like The Middle and slow moving emo tunes like Lucky Denver Mint, Jimmy Eat World are able to alternate between the two styles with ease and control. The only time it felt forced was going from Big Casino to Pass The Baby, otherwise the transitions between songs were almost flawless.
Had there been flaws, I doubt people would’ve cared as they sung along to Work, A Praise Chorus, My Best Theory, The Authority Song, Pain, Ten or Sweetness. The songs are what you think of when you hear Jimmy Eat World and no show is complete without them.
But when they throw in the songs you don’t expect to hear, that brings the evening to a whole other level. I wasn’t expecting to see them play Hear You Me – in fact, I forgot about that song that became famous because of The Butterfly Effect; yet when that first chord ran through the speakers, the emotions all came running back. Those unexpected moments that make you feel alive and Hear You Me was only outdone when guitarist Tom Linton took lead vocal duties for Clarity‘s Blister.
That became the turning point, because no matter how much fun the set was before that – once Blister hit, the night just exploded.
After 24 songs and just under two hours, the Arizona quartet bid farewell to the crowd. They stood, applauded, even took photos. It will be several years before they come back but I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait.