McKay Events Center
After completing my journey to the distant land of Orem where the McKay Events Center resides and picking up my credentials, I walked in the area where all the action would be. My eyes widened as I was surprised to see how full the floor and seats were (by the end of the show nearly all the seats were filled,) for a band who hasn’t received an onslaught of radio airplay or significant commercial attention, compared to their Bleed American days that is. Looking around it was easy to see that many people were stalwart fans, and had been, since the band’s infancy and club show days.
In the middle of my people watching, Paramore emerged from the side of the stage and sprinted into their set. Although I felt like I was being tortured by each and every note played and syllable sung, it was apparent that many had come to see Paramore. Why––I couldn’t understand. As I listened to song after song, the only thing I could think was that no one would even know who this band was in 10 years. Who knows, maybe I’ll be eating my words, but they were one of the most generic-sounding and forgettable acts I’ve seen in recent years. I couldn’t understand why Jimmy Eat World would have such a band open. To sell tickets? To make themselves sound better by comparison? Could they really like Paramore? I guess the “Why’s,” aren’t important, but still I wondered.
When Jimmy Eat World took the stage the response was overwhelming. They received the “rock star treatment,” from the crowd, but were modest and humble in their banter. These Mesa, AZ boys sounded like angels from on high with how crystal clear and perfect the tunes were performed. I’m not one to get too excited about lights and production at arena concerts, but even I took notice at how well the colored and throbbing lights complimented the music. With just enough communication with the crowd to connect and make the show feel more personal, they blazed through song after song, playing a thoughtful mix of nearly all their back catalogue, even a track or so from 1996’s Static Prevails, and of course many newer songs from the more recent Futures and most recent Chase This Light.
By the time the first chords of “The Middle” were strummed, the song that pushed the band from underground indie-emo success to commercial superstardom, the audience had more than gotten their money’s worth, but were still overjoyed and willing to sing every last word. In fact, if Jimmy Eat World follow their own words penned in “The Middle”: “Live right now. Yeah, just be yourself. It doesn't matter if it's good enough for someone else,” in my opinion, they will continue to have success while holding on to life long and loyal fans. Bravo, bravo.