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Charitie Myers
Jimmy Eat World's Jim Adkins, Friday, at Showbox SoDo.
Jimmy Eat World

Showbox SoDo

Friday, May 20

In front of a nearly sold-out

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Jimmy Eat World Humbled by Crowd, Friday Night at Showbox SoDo

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Charitie Myers
Jimmy Eat World's Jim Adkins, Friday, at Showbox SoDo.
Jimmy Eat World

Showbox SoDo

Friday, May 20

In front of a nearly sold-out crowd Friday night, lead singer and guitarist Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World stood in the center of the Showbox SoDo stage, clenching the neck of his electric guitar. He was smiling.

After 17 years of tours, millions of album sales, and a handful of music videos, the Mesa, Ariz., native--along with guitarist and backing vocalist Tom Linton, bassist Rick Burch, and drummer Zach Lind--still appeared genuinely overwhelmed by the crowd reaction Jimmy Eat World was receiving.

"Thank you. Thank you so much," Adkins said to the crowd, a sentence that increased the sound level in the venue by two notches.

For many fans, Jimmy Eat World represents a cherished anomaly in a music business tainted by breakups, eyeliner, and a desire to "head in a new direction" (which usually involves a new-found obsession with keyboards). Touring in support of 2010's Invented, individuals oblivious to the band's musical catalog would have had a hard time picking out the songs eight months old against the ones released more than a decade ago.

Staying true to its special brand of emotionally infused alternative rock, Jimmy Eat World spent the night dabbling in its last five albums, leaving no single or fan favorite behind. Newer singles such as "My Best Theory" and "Coffee and Cigarettes" were sandwiched between sing-along favorites "A Praise Chorus" and "Lucky Denver Mint." Each was played with all the ferocity and passion the band had to offer.

The packed SoDo cheered the most for anything off the platinum-selling album Bleed American. "This year is the 10th anniversary of our record, Bleed American, so we're going back and relearning some of those songs," Adkins said to a cheering, boisterous crowd.

True to fashion, Adkins and company remained relatively calm and collected during their set--a sentiment shared by 99 percent of the crowd. Couples embraced, young girls screamed, grown men nodded their heads, but besides four successful crowd-surfing attempts spread out over 22 songs, the general consensus was to simply sing every single word to every single song.

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Charitie Myers

Closing the night was "Goodbye Sky Harbor" from 1999's Clarity, which featured Adkins, free of his guitar, stomping about the stage with a tad extra pep in his step.Tracking his vocals, Adkins layered on line after line while the band played in the background, setting the framework for a massive finale where everything went silent except for the looped lyrics.

After an obligatory encore (come on, what fan is going to leave before hearing "The Middle"?) the members stood together, bowing before the crowd. Their exit from the stage seemed lingered and intentional, yet incredibly humble--they soaked up the deafening applause, which continued well after they were out of sight and the lights came back on.

From a band touching on almost two decades of touring and performing, the night's atmosphere was mirrored by the humility and passion of the musicians onstage.

"That was seriously the best show I've ever seen," said a blonde girl putting on her coat after the show. "Unbelievable."

Overheard Onstage: "Did you say turn off your mister? Did someone say that?" said Adkins, who is notorious--among longtime fans, anyway--for sweating until his shirt is drenched and his hair dripping.

Personal Bias: Though the crowd morphed into a room full of giddy schoolgirls when Jimmy Eat World whipped out "The Middle" during the encore, cult-favorite "Hear You Me" was the true crowd-pleaser, with an overwhelming, shallow groan that erupted after the first note of the song.

Crowd-Surfer Count: 4.5. It took 12 songs to get the crowd momentum going, but a single surfer was finally hoisted up during "Pain." Another popped up five songs later during "Work," and, the big finale--TWO during "The Middle." There was a valiant attempt during the final encore song, "Sweetness," but he fell immediately.

Spotted: I made sure to include in my notes a Where's Waldo-esque character standing near the stage, snuggly-bundled in red and white stripes. Little did I know, Charitie Myers got picture proof!

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Charitie Myers

Set List:

Bleed American

A Praise Chorus

My Best Theory

Coffee and Cigarettes

Lucky Denver Mint

Let It Happen

Cautioners

Futures

Big Casino

Dizzy

Action Needs an Audience

Pain

23

Evidence

For Me This Is Heaven

Hear You Me

Work

Blister

Goodbye Sky Harbor

Encores:

Invented

The Middle

Sweetness

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Charitie Myers

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