Concert Review: Jimmy Eat World

Jimmy Eat World
February 14th
Club Zoo, Pittsburgh, PA

Well, it was a night of firsts.  It was the first time I was able to see Jimmy Eat World live, and it was also the first time I’ve ever seen a concert at Club Zoo.  I arrived in the Strip District around 6:30 to see a line down the street and around the block.  I figured I would pick up my Will Call tickets and then hang out around the Strip until closer to showtime.  Unfortunately, the Will Call table is inside the venue and tickets are not available until the doors open for the night.  Instead of waiting in the rain/snow/sleet/misery mix that was pouring from the sky at the time, I decided to meet up with some friends at Rolands in the Strip for some food and pre-show libations.  Finally, at around 8, we headed back to the venue to find a spot and catch a bit of the opening band before Jimmy took the stage.

We got our tickets, and entered the Club, and instantly I knew it was going to be a “difficult” venue.  The place was already jammed back to the doors and the sight lines were terrible.  If you’ve never been to Club Zoo before, it’s obvious that it’s a club first, concert venue second.  The main floor is quite small and cramped, and outside of that, viewing options are limited to various balconies on the second floor.  Speaking of the balconies, despite already paying 30 dollars a ticket, if you wanted to go upstairs to watch the show, it was an additional 10 dollars for the “VIP level”.  Seeing that we weren’t going to see or hear much on the first level, we paid the extra cash and headed upstairs.  The sight lines upstairs were not much better as the prime viewing spots were already well picked over.  The one major benefit was that the crowds were much lighter upstairs and it was much easier to move around.  My only complaint about the upstairs level is the lack of restrooms.  In order to use the restroom, you had to go back downstairs and fight through a very tightly packed crowd to the one set of restrooms on the other side of the venue.

Ok, enough about the venue.  Let’s get to the music.  I must admit, I didn’t hear much of the opener, David Bazan.  What I heard wasn’t bad, but I can’t give a firm opinion.  (EDIT:  My friend Nate just reminded me that Bazan founded Pedro The Lion, a band I used to be into several years ago… I never made the connection last night.  Whoops)  When we first walked in, he was doing a duet with the lead singer of Jimmy Eat World, and the harmonies sounded solid, but again, I can’t say too much as we were working our way around the maze of Club Zoo at the time looking for a spot for the main act.  And what a main act it was.  I have been a fan of Jimmy for well over 10 years.  I started listening to them when Clarity was released, and have been a fan since then.  I just have never had the opportunity to see them live.   Luckily, that changed last night.

The set kicked off with A Praise Chorus from Bleed American and then went directly into My Best Theory from their newest album Invented.  Both these songs are full of energy and were a great start to the show.  From there the set spanned nearly the entire Jimmy Eat World discography.   Songs were played from 6 of the band’s 7 releases.  The only album not represented was their 1994 self-titled record.  The band kept up great energy from front to back, despite the crowd being rather mild mannered throughout the entire show.  The highlights for me were Big Casino, Evidence, Pain, Goodbye Sky Harbor, and of course the encore-ending The Middle and Sweetness.

The sound, while a bit quiet in the venue, was excellent.  The band is still spot on with their harmonies, and lead singer, Jim Adkins, has as powerful of a voice as ever.  The instrument blend was good, and I never felt like the band overpowered the vocals.  Courtney Marie Andrews, who appears on the band’s newest album, provided a nice female counterpart on several songs and just added to the full sound that the band already has.

In conclusion, the concert was excellent.  Jimmy Eat World is still going strong, and musically left nothing to be desired at the end of the night.  They played their hearts out, and everyone who I spoke to were ecstatic about the song choices and energy of the show.  Unfortunately, the venue they played left me feeling frustrated that I couldn’t enjoy the show more.  Despite that, I am still incredibly glad that I finally got the chance to see them live.  I only took one picture during the concert and I had to hold the camera precariously above my head and use 3x zoom to get a decent frame on the stage.  So please, forgive the graininess.  Try to think of it as a “rock and roll” feel to the picture.

Jimmy Eat World performing at Club Zoo

Setlist:
A Praise Chorus
My Best Theory
Coffee and Cigarettes
Lucky Denver Mint
Let It Happen
Thinking, That’s All
Polaris
Futures
Big Casino
Dizzy
Action Needs An Audience
Pain
23
Evidence
For Me This Is Heaven
Hear You Me
Work
Blister
Goodbye Sky Harbor

Encore:
Invented
The Middle
Sweetness

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