Live Stream Review: Jimmy Eat World Phoenix Sessions, Chapter III Clarity

On Friday, Feb 12th, Jimmy Eat World live streamed Chapter III Clarity, which was the final chapter of their Phoenix Sessions Global Stream Series. The previous two chapters, Chapter X Surviving and Chapter V Futures were broadcast in January.  Each chapter was a pre-recorded film featuring a specific album which was performed in its entirety by the band.  The unusual chapter numbers signified the order in which the albums were released.  The band chose these albums to give the fans more variety.  Surviving was chosen because it is the band’s latest album, which they have been unable to perform live in front of audience due to the pandemic.  Futures was a commercially successful album, whereas Clarity is a fan favorite.

1999’s Clarity was Jimmy Eat World’s third studio album.  During the live stream pre-show, the band discussed the recording of the album. At the time, the band was convinced that this was going to be their last album on a major recording label. According to lead singer Jim Adkins the mantra during the recording sessions was “what else can we do”.  They had doubts that the album would ever be released by the record label.  However, a copy of “Lucky Denver Mint” was sent to KROQ which put the song into their airplay rotation.  The rest is history. In 2019, Clarity was ranked #13 on Rolling Stone’s 40 Greatest Emo Albums of All Time. The album has gone on to become a cult classic for their fans.

Chapter III was filmed at The Icehouse located in the historic warehouse district of downtown Phoenix.  While it is disappointing and frustrating that there are very few in-person concerts these days, live stream shows provide opportunities for bands to do things they typically wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.  One of these is being able to perform songs that fans would typically not see.  Something that a lot of bands are doing with their live streams is performing all the songs from an album from start to finish.  This was the case with Chapter III where Jimmy Eat World played all the songs from the Clarity album.

An upfront disclaimer. I am not a Jimmy Eat World fan.  Not because I don’t like the band, but rather I have never really listened to any of their music. I think the only song of theirs that I have every heard was “The Middle” from their Bleed American album.  This is advantageous because I went into the live stream unbiased, not pre-destined to write a positive review regardless of the quality of the performance.  With this disclaimer out of the way, I can objectively state that I am giving this show a glowing review.

Some of the recent live streams from other musical artists that I have viewed have relied on special effects or theatrics to appeal to the audience.  This was their way of trying to make their performance more interesting.  I did not get a chance to watch the previous two chapters in the Phoenix Sessions so I’m not sure how Clarity differs from the others.  However, with this chapter, the focus was on the music. The band’s performance was what one would expect to see at an in-person show.  There were your typical colored stage lights, with some haze and occasional white spotlights. Video scenes were also projected onto the stage’s back wall. The lack of elaborate special effects allowed the band to direct the audience’s focus and attention exactly where they wanted it, on the band and on the music.

Once the live stream ended, I listened to the Clarity album on Apple Music.  The band’s live presentation closely matched that of the original recording.  The only difference being the last song “Goodbye Sky Harbor” which was only 9 minutes long compared to the original recording which was over 16 minutes long.  Jimmy Eat World used pace and dynamics as they progressed from song to song, almost like a pianist or guitarist, gradually building tension just to the point of letting go, before pulling back and resolving the tension.  There were mellow, dreamy like songs like “Table for Glasses”, “A Sunday” and “12.23.95” mixed with more tempo songs like “Lucky Denver Mint”, “Crush”, and “Blister”.  

Jimmy Adkins sang lead on most of the songs except for “Blister” which featured Tom Linton and “Your New Aesthetic” where the two shared lead vocals.  Jimmy Eat World was formed in 1993 and has had only one lineup change with Rick Burch taking over bass duties in 1995.  It is incredibly rare for a band to maintain the same lineup for over 25 years.  This long-term experience with each other was reflected in their performance.  The timing of the band was impeccable. 

This was not a get out of your seat and dance around the floor type of show because that is not what Clarity was about. This was more Emo Pop, leaning toward Indie Rock that was more introspective.  It was more about just sitting back and listening to the music and lyrics and self-reflecting while the band played. As stated in my previous disclaimer, I am not a diehard Jimmy Eat World fan, but I still enjoyed the show and it exposed me to a band and music that I had never experienced before.  I believe that every Jimmy Eat World fan which was on-line loved the show. They were able to listen to and experience songs that they would never hear if they attended an in-person concert.

Chapter III Clarity, is still available on-demand on the band’s website for the next couple of days.  It is worth checking out if you are a fan of the band or just wanting to experience something new. The pre-show is available on YouTube and be viewed below. Tickets for Chapter III Clarity can be purchased here.

Set List

  1. Table for Glasses
  2. Lucky Denver Mint
  3. Your New Aesthetic
  4. Believe in What You Want
  5. A Sunday
  6. Crush
  7. 12.23.95
  8. Ten
  9. Just Watch the Fireworks
  10. For Me This is Heaven
  11. Blister
  12. Clarity
  13. Goodbye Sky Harbor

Jim Eat World is

  • Jim Adkins – lead vocals, guitar
  • Zach Lind – drums
  • Tom Linton – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Rick Burch – bass
  • Robin Vining – keyboard

Check out Jimmy Eat World at Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Spotify | Apple Music

Post by Scott Raymer (Website | Instagram | Facebook)

What is your favorite Jimmy Eat World song? Comment below.





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