Sun kissed Vancouverites flocked to the PNE Amphitheatre on a sizzling Friday evening to watch Jimmy Eat World live, open for City and Colour. The outdoor stage built against a backdrop of mountains in the distance is the epitome of picturesque. As the sweet sounds of rock and roll fill the air, there’s no place better to dance the night away.
For those of us who attended high school in the early 2000s, Bleed American was a CD collection staple. So when Jimmy Eat World opened their show with the all familiar “Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh” from ‘Sweetness’, a collective feeling of nostalgia rang through the audience.
The energy was kept at an all time high with ‘My Best Theory’, a song whose hook is so catchy that it’s impossible not to sing along to. Added to the mix is the intensity of drummer Zach Lind’s kick drum, seemingly designed to be loud enough that it reverberates through the entire venue, leaving bodies high on a rock buzz.
Although the first two songs from the set needed no introduction, lead singer Jim Adkins, dressed in a slimming black ensemble took a couple of seconds to introduce the song ‘I Will Steal You Back’, the first single off their new album, Damage. The track, ‘Appreciation’ followed, which is also from Damage.
With a quick switch from electric guitar to an acoustic one, the pace of the set slowed and the audience hushed. Adkins strummed the first few chords and the audience cheered in recognition of ‘Hear You Me’.
Jimmy Eat World’s set continues with the song ‘Heart Is Hard To Find’ from the album Invented and ‘Pain’ from the album Futures. Up to this point the band’s performance seemed like a very straightforward, no nonsense performance. That is until they decided to have some fun with the audience.
Adkins gave a brief and cryptic foreword about the next song being “something fun they’ve been doing on the road.” With that, a recognizable lyric spouted from his lips. Although most of the female concertgoers were singing along word for word right from the first verse, it took most fans until the chorus to recognize the song, “We are never ever, ever getting back together.” The band managed to turns Taylor Swift’s bubblegum pop tune into a something of a rock power ballad. Not bad for a group of thirty-something-year-olds.
To keep the crowd dancing and their heads banging, the set wrapped with two more upbeat tracks – ‘Big Casino’ from 2007’s Chase This Light and ‘Bleed American’ from 2001’s album of the same name. Last, but not least, in Jimmy Eat World tradition, the twelve-song set came to a close with ‘The Middle’ – a teen anthem that still speaks volumes today because even twelve years after its release, the youth of any generation can still find a beacon of hope when they hear the lines “everything, everything will be just fine/ everything, everything will be alright, alright.”