Jimmy Eat World didn’t knock it out of the park on Thursday night, but it didn’t strike out either.
Instead, let’s call their 80-minute workmanlike performance outside the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame a solid double. Impressive but not one destined for the history books.
And hey, that’s OK. Workmanlike is good. Think of Jimmy Eat World as the Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers of emo. The Arizona band has been at it for more than a quarter century, consistently churning out muscular, jangly rock long after the 2002 megahit “The Middle” fell off the charts.
(View our photos from the performance here.)
Their Cleveland performance was just as consistent as their output, and a lot of that credit goes to lead singer/guitarist Jim Adkins, who unlike us mere mortals doesn’t seem to age at the same speed. The frontman anchored the set by bounding across the stage, peeling off dexterous guitar licks and leading singalongs with his well-preserved tenor.
It was something to aspire to for the sizable crowd, which appeared to mostly consist of a subset of Millennials reliving their glory days.
You know the types. They were the ones who knew who the band referred to when Adkins called out “Davey” in “A Praise Chorus.” The ones who resented how big the band got after Bleed American was released because they insisted the album Clarity, released a few years prior, was superior.
Those were the exceptions, though. The band started strong with “Futures” and ended with, you guessed it, “The Middle.” In between it was able to wedge in newer material like “All the Way (Stay),” which fit snugly with old fan favorites and chestnuts like “Pain,” “Sweetness” and “Lucky Denver Mint.”
Still, there was nothing about the concert that gave the impression that it was a special one. Or that the next show would be very different from the one on Thursday night.
Instead, it was a fine performance by a fine band during a fine night in Cleveland. And that is just fine.
Openers Charly Bliss warmed up the crowd with a healthy heaping of new material. The indie quartet led by lead singer/guitarist Eva Hendricks continues to stray from the grungy-pop sound of its debut and toward middle-of-the-road pop. This may appeal to fans of groups like Walk the Moon but does little for anyone who likes their music with just a little edge.
Jimmy Eat World setlist:
3. Bleed American
4. The Authority Song
5. For Me This Is Heaven
6. Big Casino
7. All the Way (Stay)
8. A Praise Chorus
9. Sure and Certain
10. Let It Happen
15. Hear You Me
16. Get It Faster
17. Something Loud
18. Lucky Denver Mint
20. The Middle