9180 general # 2@Newcastle O2 Academy, September 10 2013

It was, perhaps, a touch surprising to see a band like We Are The Ocean accepting a support slot on this tour considering they have recently completed a Academy-sized headline tour of their own. However, it does emphasise the affection many younger bands still feel for Jimmy Eat World.

From the minute WATO hit that first chord, everyone in attendance could tell that this would be an excellent warm up – one that the headliners might even struggle to top. 

Having set out on tour with a new album to promote, the support act had no intention of letting the nostalgia take over, knowing that this was an opportunity to crack into a new market of fans – an older generation, perhaps – and they went out and grabbed it with both hands.

Although the opening set was of an extremely high quality – a much higher standard than the majority of support acts that pass through the Academy – the crowd remained very subdued with only a select few truly getting into the music.

However, as Jimmy Eat World, the band everyone was there to see, took to the stage there was a deafening cheer and things looked like they were about to change. From the opening note of I Will Steal You Back the whole energy inside the venue seemed to shift.

Disappointingly this energy was short-lived, with many of the audience just as keen on having a chat as they were at taking in the show which was unfolding in front of them.

As the set progressed this unusual vibe continued, despite the almost perfect sound quality coming from stage. While it is a real shame to go to a gig and be surrounded by people who do not want to move or sing along, it does at some point beg the question: “Why is are the band not doing their bit to get their audience going?”

The flat atmosphere continued to float around as the set wore on, with a number of hit singles such as Always Be and Pain America seeming to pass everyone by – despite the band putting in a wholehearted performance onstage.

As Jim Adkins appeared for the encore armed with an acoustic guitar to perform fan favourite Chase This Light, mobile phones and lighters started to appear with the audience suddenly realising they were at a gig. With perfect pitch, Adkins delivered the song with the elegance it deserves.

Finally, saving the best known for last, Jimmy Eat World broke into The Middle, a song that took them to a new level but, at the same time, has held them back with mainstream fans. As this classic burst into life, so did the audience and they screamed out the words in unison – finally choosing to cheer their heroes rather than chat to their mates.

Adam Keys