I must preface this review by saying I will do everything in my power not to write a love letter, but beings as we’re talking about Jimmy Eat World, it might be hard not to. The year was 2006, I was young and excited and falling in love with music for the first time. That year was the first time I dipped my big toe into the vast waters that is the concert scene, kicking off my eventual career with one night with Jimmy Eat World, Taking Back Sunday, and Mates of State at the Fillmore Auditorium. I can say with full confidence that even after nearly a decade, Jimmy Eat World still gives one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. Playing at The Ogden this past Saturday in support of their newly released album Damage, the show was as full of energy as I remember it being all those years ago.
Opening the evening was a last minute addition, Denver band South Of France. One of the members of the touring main support act, X Ambassadors, was ill, leaving the band unable to perform. Lucky for Jimmy, Denver's ongoing weekend festival The Underground Music Showcase (The UMS) was able to spare one of Denver’s finest to fill the room with mellow indie sounds. With both a male and female vocalist trading leads back and forth, it was dynamic and chipper - the perfect style of music for lazy summer days camped out beachside back East. Playing a quick 30 minute set full of “oohs”, and beats from a tambourine, the band seemed excited to have such a big opportunity, and certainly made the most of it.
The audience seemed relentless in their wait for the headliners to begin. Denver is no stranger to Jimmy Eat World: beings as the band hails from Arizona, Denver is one of the closest major markets to tour. After playing here for nearly 20 years, it has become apparent what a soft spot the city has for this band. With fans young and old and everything in between, it was a wonderfully eclectic audience on Saturday night, proving that good music transcends age. With the four-piece taking the stage promptly at 9:30, lead singer Jim Adkins took a quick moment to introduce the band and greet the audience before diving into their set. Playing hit after hit off of their eight full-length albums, the impressive diversity of musical styles throughout their catalog was quickly established. Opening with their current radio single, “I Will Steal You Back”, the band followed it with five songs all coming from five different albums, making it easy for fans from any era to immediately be pleased. Playing fan favorites like “Pain”, “Hear You Me”, “Your New Aesthetic”, and “Work”, the band also hit on big cult classics like “Polaris”, “Lucky Denver Mint”, and the infamous “Goodbye Sky Harbor” in which Jim Adkins loops himself into a beautiful build up over three minutes. Saturday night it appeared that Jim’s loop pedal was broken, so the band instead treated fans to a heavy interlude halfway through the song - a new twist and pleasant surprise.
Closing out the night with hits “A Praise Chorus”, Sweetness”, and “Bleed American” three of the singles off their self-titled album, the band returned for an encore of the beautiful “Chase This Light”, “Big Casino”, and the smash hit “The Middle”. Before beginning their last song, Adkins took a minute to thank their crew, and thank the fans for coming out. Noting that the band will be having their twentieth anniversary next year, Adkins spoke about how meaningful it’s been to have Denver continually backing them throughout their careers, and how much they genuinely love performing here. A sweet, but simple gesture, it was certainly enough to make me proud of my city, and how well we treat a band I feel gave direction to both my life and my career path. If you haven’t picked up a copy of the band’s new album Damage, it’s available online now through their website, or for your quick listening pleasure on Spotify. They may joke about their age and longevity like it’s a bad thing, but it is truly a rarely achieved feat for a band to have that kind of relationship, passion, and commitment for such a long time. To some people age is a bad thing, but I hope Jimmy Eat World treats it the way one does with wine, and will come to realize that the years have only made them better. Here’s to twenty more years of incredible music from incredible performers. I know I’ll still be here, singing just as loudly as I did in 2006 - Cheers!
Setlist: I Will Steal You Back | My Best Theory | Appreciation | Your New Aesthetic | FUTURES | Kill | Work | Never Getting Back Together (Taylor Swift Cover) | Damage | Heart Is Hard To Find | Hear You Me | Let It Happen | Pain | Always Be | No Never | Polaris | Lucky Denver Mint | Goodbye Sky Harbor (Abridged Solo) | A Praise Chorus | Sweetness | Bleed American | Encore: Chase This Light | Big Casino | The Middle