What do you mean you’re leaving?

When I saw a digital billboard about a month ago advertising the Paramore and Jimmy Eat World concert at Rabobank I was excited. After a couple months stuck at home feeling really crappy, I knew this would be the perfect feeling better celebratory event. I went home and e-mailed two of my favorite couples to see if they wanted to come up from L.A. to see the show. It seemed the perfect combination of two of our favorite bands. It would be “the triple threat” revisted. The day of the show arrived, everyone got here safely and we got their kids situated with some family members.

At the start of Paramore’s set the sound was a little wonky. A low end mix was drowing out lead singer Hayley Williams usually bold voice. A couple songs in though it seemed the engineers had things figured out. It was funny to hear Williams remenice fondly about a show at Jerry’s Pizza a couple years back, since every show I’ve ever seen there has been overshadowed by the rank smell that pervades the small basement venue.

The band had a lot of energy, but there was often too much lag time between songs. This has been a pet peeve of mine for some time. When I go to a professional show I expect everyone from the performers to the engineers to the lighting crew to just have it down. I don’t want to wait forever between almost every song listening to the lead singer trying to come up with something clever to say while the roadies set up a keyboard or switch out guitars. Some bands have this down, others just don’t.

I was surprised at the number of songs played that I didn’t recognize, but they were sure to play plenty from their current album, RIOT! even winding it down at one point with “When it Rains.” Their set ended as it should, saving the best for last, their hit “Misery Business.”

As the lights went up I began to be surprised as I noticed the number of really young concert goers there (as a reference I’m 24… these were junior highish looking kids). I think they were especially noticable because now that Paramore’s set was over these kids were making a mass exodus. I overheard several groups say things like, “I guess we can go now” or “That was worth it just for Paramore.” Despite praise from Williams before their set ended letting the crowd know that they were about to see “the band”, these kids just didn’t seem to have an appreciation for the headlining act. I even heard one girl say, “I don’t even know who Jimmy Eat World is. I might know some of their songs, but I just can’t think of them. We should just go home.” This was a bit shocking to me, I mean who hasn’t at least heard “The Middle”?
By the time Jimmy Eat World was about three songs into their set, the standing crowd down by the stage had diminished by what looked like half. I just couldn’t figure out why when everything about Jimmy Eat World’s performance was flawless — the sound was dialed in from the beginning, the lighting was spectacular, the catalog of material had far more hits, etc. The band was just solid from beginning to end and through the encore.

Cara said it best as we were leaving, “That was a professional rock band.” From a performance perspective, Jimmy Eat World stole the show — as they should have — Paramore will get there, but there is a reason they save the best for last. Those that left early missed out on what was definitely a better act.

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