Jimmy Eat World - Paramount Theatre, Casa Grande - 5/9/13
Jimmy Eat World's Arizona tour turned out to be excellent news for local fans of the band, who get a belated chance to see them in the kind of venues they played before their national breakout more than a decade ago. The group is now more than halfway through its tour, which stops in venues in smaller towns such Yuma, Flagstaff, and Sierra Vista. The remaining tour dates are sold out, but given the intimacy of Thursday night's show, buying a ticket from a reseller would absolutely be worth it.
See also: Jimmy Eat World Releases New Song, Announces Arizona Tour Dates (Basically Everywhere but Phoenix and Tucson)
From what I could tell, the Casa Grande show had a good mix of Phoenicians and locals. I haven't ventured too far beyond gas stations on my way to Tucson, so I decided to explore the town a bit before the show to see if I could find some culture beyond the mass of chain stores. I made my way to Coolidge to check out the Casa Grande ruins, which closed at 5, but the drive was nice. After passing a Macayos, BoSa Donuts, and a Filiberto's and getting discouraged with Yelp reviews of local restaurants, which seemed to hover around two stars or three, I had dinner at a random Chinese restaurant. The popular tip -- "It's Chinese food in Casa Grande. What do you expect?" -- seems about right.
After dinner, I made my way to the venue, which is an independent movie theater with an old-time marquee dedicated to Jimmy Eat World. The venue held maybe 200 or 250 people, making it the smallest Jimmy Eat World show I have ever seen. The legendary Nita's Hideaway shows were a little bit before my time, but I can imagine that Thursday night's show played out a little something like that.
Opening with "I Will Steal You Back," the lead single from Damage, which is due out in June, the band fed off the energy of its intimate crowd.
After performing "Work," singer/guitarist Jim Adkins said it was the band's first time playing in Casa Grande and discussed the pronunciation of the town. "I got a note from a local that it's Casa Grand. You say Casa Grand-ay if you're trying really hard to fit in," he said to some laughs.
The band played four new songs, including "I Will Steal You Back" and "Damage," which are available on Spotify. Most of the new material sounds similar to Jimmy Eat World's tone on Invented and Chase This Light with the notable exception of "Book of Love," which describes an old relationship gone wrong. The new songs have a common theme of lost love, which is kind of funny given that Adkins apparently is happily married. We can't complain, though; he's still a great songwriter.