Live Review: Jimmy Eat World at Chicago's The Vic (8/18)


    It’s easy to dismiss Jimmy Eat World, and many people do. Say their name at a party, and someone’s bound to mention “The Middle” being their only hit, or make fun of them for having more than one song on the Van Wilder soundtrack. But even though they’ve had more than one hit (many more, in fact) and Van Wilder isn’t all that bad of a movie, I often wonder if the bulk of their fans eagerly awaited the releases of Invented and Damage or, to put it more bluntly, wrote off everything after Bleed American. Fortunately, last night’s sold-out show at The Vic put my fears to rest.

    Sure, I expected every last audience member to scream their heart out to the salt-sweat-chorus of “Bleed American” and the “whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh”s of “Sweetness”. Both of those are givens. But the “whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh”s of “Work” (from 2003’s Futures)? I had no idea the song had become such an anthem. Even “Heart Is Hard To Find” grew some muscles, transforming into a venue-wide clap-along that didn’t stop until the final strum of frontman Jim Adkins’ acoustic power-chugging. As expected, the handful of tracks off Clarity also killed, especially “Blister”— the live staple from JEW guitarist/sometime vocalist, Tom Linton.

    jewmyburgh2If there’s one thing to complain about regarding the band’s current tour, it’s the somewhat predictable setlist. Made up of three to five songs off every album from 1999 onwards, these weren’t exactly deep cuts, at least for longtime JEW fans. Granted, Adkins and co. may be burned out on some of the older material after 2009’s Clarity x 10 tour. But even aside from their most beloved album, it would have been a welcome surprise to see gems like “Authority Song”, “Evidence”, or even anything off of the excellent Stay On My Side Tonight EP represented. Hell, I would’ve loved to hear “No, Never”, the New Wave ear-worm off of this year’s Damage, in place of “Please Say No”, the album’s slowest, longest, and drudgiest song.


    To be fair, every setlist comes with a different set of gripes from each fan. With seven proper albums under their belts, the band simply isn’t going to please everyone, save for those who only know them from “The Middle”. And if that’s the case, hopefully the end of the Damage tour inspired them to dig deeper.

    Random thoughts:

    – I didn’t catch his name and couldn’t find it online, but JEW has a new keyboardist that can beautifully hit the backing vocals from the band’s various female guests throughout the years. Rachel Haden, Liz Phair, Courtney Marie Andrews—this bearded dude does it all!

    – Also singing a lot more is bassist Rick Burch, who contributed to the vocal round on “Sweetness” and a handful of other tunes. I don’t remember him ever doing that before, although I could be wrong.


    – Zach Lind dropped a drumstick on his very first note, then gushed and picked it back up. Oh, Zach!

    Photography by Susan Myburgh

    I Will Steal You Back
    Big Casino
    My Best Theory
    Your New Aesthetic
    Lucky Denver Mint
    Hear You Me
    Action Needs An Audience
    We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” (Taylor Swift cover)
    Heart Is Hard To Find
    Let It Happen
    Always Be
    Please Say No
    A Praise Chorus
    Bleed American
    Chase This Light
    The Middle