“We’re an old band, but we’re a new band too!” These were the words shared by lead guitar and vocalist, Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World, mid-show at The Riviera on Tuesday, May 8th. This statement holds an excellent paradigm to it – on one side, the band is an older one, formed in the early 90’s out of Arizona, initially in the roots of punk rock. As the entire group still has its original members (Jim Adkins, Zach Lind, Tom Linton, and Rick Burch), they’ve managed to continue to pump new music with their latest release in 2016, Integrity Blues.
Q101 hosted their annual PIQNIQ festival in Tinley Park, IL last May (2017) featuring artists such as Warpaint, Joywave, Sum 41, Bleachers, Jimmy Eat World, and The 1975, amongst others. To my surprise, Jimmy Eat World was by far the top show of that day. With that experience in mind, that was the guiding mark to urge another viewing of their musical abilities, after all, they’ve been doing this for 25 years now (including their formation and official naming).
What may have blinded me from last year was their set list had to be in a concise fashion, given their time slot – they were not the headliner. Fast forward, this is Jimmy Eat World’s tour, the 2016 album, Integrity Blues. Shame on me, I’ve yet to listen or dive into any material of theirs beyond the 2001 release of Bleed American. When you look at their discography, they have at least five additional album releases beyond Bleed American. So, there I was, with shame, not knowing many songs, but still watching Jimmy Eat World rock out at the Riv.
Transitions were precise. The band was very, almost overly grateful, to the audience for their praise and applauding. This was Jimmy’s third show on the tour, so, rather than catching them at the tail end of the trip, Chicago found them with more enthusiasm and appreciation. That doesn’t go to say that the band isn’t normally appreciative, but it’s fair assumption to think their engagement with the crowd would be on a higher level early on in the tour.
You can find their full setlist here. What I’d like to dive into is one particular song that caught me off guard, at the tail end of their show before the encore. This song is titled “Hear You Me.” This is one of the slower, hidden gems on Bleed American. The trigger line in the chorus “hear you me my friends” is one that makes me think of the various friends, teammates, teachers, coaches, family members, co-workers, you name it, who have come into my life. As humans, we exchange words, experiences, thoughts, and emotions, amongst a plethora of other things. Human interaction has changed so much today, less focus on personal conversation and phone calls to e-mails and instant messages or texts.
A song like this reminds us that the human heart craves for more than a text or an e-mail, it’s knowing that your words, your prayers, your emotions, are heard and shared amongst those closest or those you’ve lost touch. If you’re fortunate, you’ll find yourself surrounded by those who continue to enjoy company and experiences to last a lifetime. While I didn’t know every song at Jimmy Eat World’s show, it was a shared moment amongst fans, amongst friends, amongst those who care – “song[s] for heart[s] so big.”