Written by Mike Duffy; Photos by Chrissy Mauck
Even after six albums, Jimmy Eat World still has it.
Those who saw the Mesa, Ariz., rock outfit in 2001 when hit single “The Middle” rocketed to No. 1 could have relived those days and more with JEW’s Sunday afternoon set at Coachella’s “Outdoor Theatre.”
Led by singer and Fender signature artist Jim Adkins, Jimmy Eat World gave their fans exactly the blend of pop, power punk and emo that has become an m.o. over the years. Riding high on their newest offering, Invented, Jimmy Eat World delivered a good mix of classics (yes, “The Middle” was played) and new material.
Opening up with “Bleed American” from 2002′s album of the same name, the packed crowd was immediately whipped into a frenzy. The high emotions only spilled over the rails on the next song, “A Praise Chorus,” which sparked a bout of crowd surfing into the press bullpen.
Two new highlights came next, with “My Best Theory,” the first single off Invented, and “Coffee and Cigarettes,” a touching story of leaving a loved one behind.
“As simple as it gets/Of all the things I think I’ll miss/Is staying up with you/Coffee and cigarettes/Coffee and cigarettes,” Adkins sang.
The thing about Jimmy Eat World, and this holds true for the band’s entire tenure, is that even though songs like “Coffee and Cigarettes” have somber themes, the energy never waned.
Adkins’ rapid-fire riffs on his signature Jim Adkins JA-90 Telecaster Thinline (in both the Natural and Crimson Red finish) and the throbbing time from Rick Burton’s Precision Bass willed the crowd to keep calling back for more.
In fact, there didn’t seem to be a time when the majority of those in attendance were not shouting every lyric back to Adkins – or to guitarist Tom Linton, who took lead vocals on “Action Needs an Audience.”
As the concert waned, one song seemed to be missing, and Adkins obliged by launching into a heartfelt version of “The Middle” to rabid cheers or approval.
Jimmy Eat World even did their fans one better by officially closing with “Sweetness.”
“If your listening…..!” Adkins shouted at the crowd to kick of their 2001 radio-friendly hit.
They have been for years.