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Jimmy Eat World: The Aftermath

I must be getting old. I'm now in the age range of individuals who purchase tickets to concerts that are essentially more fueled by capitalism than artistic integrity. Case in point: Brigitte and I traveled from Minneapolis to Chicago to see Jimmy Eat World perform, in its entirety, their 1999 magnum opus Clarity for $35 for the ticket, $100+ for transportation (note to self: splurge on flying next time instead of taking the overnight bus…), time out of our weekend schedules that would otherwise be spent sleeping and/or watching television. No, this was not to see the newest, "coolest", "hippest" band around. But nostalgia is a powerful thing to people who are post-college, pre-mid-life crisis. Here are my thoughts on the experience of re-living one of my totes fave albums ever.

Like obviously everybody else who attended the concert, Clarity was a big time paradigm shifter in my musical listening experience. Pre-college in 2001, the closest thing I had to emo was my two Travis CDs (yeesh, what happened to them?) When my neighbor down the hall let me make a copy of Clarity I was enthralled. Who knew emotional music could also rock? Cut to a few months ago when I bought tickets to the show in Chicago. I gave the album a few listens and realized that the magic of the music had dissipated a bit. I gave it a few more listens on my way to Chicago and remembered a little bit of why I loved the album so much in the first place.

Unsurprisingly (although I should have anticipated it more) the venue of the concert, the Metro in Chicago, was packed and rowdy. How bizarre was it to see a bunch of sweaty, slightly drunk people singing along to an album full of songs most everybody probably had a strictly headphone relationship with?

Regardless of any bizarro moments, the concert was great. Playing the album live renewed the sense of excitement that I felt listening to the album over and over when it first came out. "Lucky Denver Mint" got everybody singing along while "Your New Aesthetic" and "Crush" got the energy kicking. By the time "For Me This is Heaven" started, I didn't even care that I wasn't really able to see the band. And "Side D" of the album, "Goodbye Sky Harbor" was totally spectacular -- the band pulled off the intricate guitar and vocal loops for the first time that I've seen them play live.

(Oh, speaking of live. I love you, Jim Adkins. And I really appreciate your live energy, and the fact you have your own style. But, do you need to be so sweaty? If there were a theoretical sweaty band scale, and a five was the most sweaty, you would be a five.)

Overall, the experience felt a lot like hanging out with an old friend and having a great time and re-living a lot of those great experiences in the past. The encore was more like remembering when that old friend went through that weird jam band phase that you didn't really dig and they started hanging out with people who had black lights in their rooms and sure these new friends are nice but just not really your gig. But oh, the memories. Jimmy Eat World, in my musical development, has been pretty much left behind, but the memories are still very fond.

p.s. Special thanks to Katie B for taking that photo, I'm totes jealous you guys got so close to the stage. Also many thanks to the fine Blogulutioneers in Chicago for putting us up and showing us some fine Chicago hospitality.

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  1. Blogger Brigitte | 10:52 AM |  

    i love nostalgia. and i love that we've reached the age of attending what felt like a reunion tour.

    you forgot to mention that chris and lady amy came along as well!

  2. Blogger Brigitte | 10:53 AM |  

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  3. Blogger chris | 11:48 AM |  

    I understand there probably was a large part of them thinking "we could probably make some nice bank by doing a quick 10-year anniversary Clarity tour," but they must have also been thinking about the influence of the album and the effect it's had on all of us as well. I feel like everything they've done since Bleed American (if not everything involving that record too) is way more capitalistic in nature than this tour. They are clearly capable of innovative pop music, but because that album caused them to get dropped by Capitol Records, I'm sure they decided "if we want to make money as a band, we need more power chords, less electronics, and less symbolism."

    Despite everything they've been since 1999 (holla at whoever's AOL member profile got me to download "Lucky Denver Mint" off Napster that year for helping me search out the album), the concert was monumental. The effect really didn't wear off for me at all. In fact, I think I love the album way more today than I did back then.

    And while a 14-hour round trip drive was excruciating at times, it was worth it for only $35 in gas/tolls for four people. Toyota, wanna forgive my Prius debt for this free advertising?

  4. Blogger DanVogues | 10:56 PM |  

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Blogger DanVogues | 11:20 PM |  

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Blogger DanVogues | 11:22 PM |  

    Nice job, Mark, in your comments and opinions about JEW show we attended. First off, thanks to all those I traveled with and/or had a blast with in Chicago last weekend. The city rocks and the adventures rocked even more. I can see myself living in Chicago if not for more chances to see JEW live at the Metro again for hopefully their eventual 15th or 20th anniversary Clarity tour, but also to hang out with you cool cats. The show totally rocked and it most definitely slid into one of my top five favorite concerts of all time. For those of you looking for a decent collection of videos from the show Mark has blogged about, here's a link for you to check out.

    Jimmy Eat World-Clarity Tour-Metro-Chicago, IL

  7. Blogger P. Arty | 1:06 PM |  

    I am very remorseful that I will probably never see this album performed live again. It was an amazing show, and an even more amazing weekend. We need to get the gang together down here more often!

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