August 2nd, 2019 Third Eye Blind and Jimmy Eat World brought their Summer God's Tour to The Pearl at The Palm's Casino and Resort. There isn't enough that can be said about The Palms and The Pearl Concert Theater's hospitality. My seat was pretty hard to find on my own and everyone kindly helped me find my spot despite the tons of people that were filtering in.
Ra Ra Riot.
Syracuse, New York's own Indie Rock Band- Ra Ra Riot opened with “Absolutely”. Even though the band originates from the East Coast “Absolutely” is a delicious mix of pop and eighties. It could easily be played while cruising with your top down on the California coast.
The band consists of Wes Miles, Mathieu Santos, Milo Bonacci, Rebecca Zeller, and Kenny Bernard. Wes has a voice that is reminiscent of Justine Pierre of Motion City Soundtrack. However, these bands are very different.
“Bad to Worse” is my favorite song of the set. Soft, melodic, soulful, and still unique. This band is a mash-up of things that shouldn't make any sense with keyboards, violins, and indie roots but, they make it work perfectly. Ra Ra Riot is one of my favorite openers this year.
Jimmy. Eat. World.
I saw them for the first time last year at Brooklyn Bowl. I was blown away and this was no different.
They opened with “Pain”, a song that gets everyone on their feet immediately. Jim Adkins, Zach Lind, Tom Linton, and Rick Burch play with so much passion. it's hard to believe this is the second to last date on this tour.
It's obvious that every setlist is methodically planned. This can be seen in the transition from “Bleed American” to “Lucky Denver Mint”. I will never ever get sick of hearing “Work” live. It's my favorite song from the band and it's so beautiful live that I am always on the verge of tears.
Jimmy Eat World has a very simple set up. A simple sign behind them that reads “Jimmy Eat World”. Honestly, that's all they need. They are natural-born performers and it obvious that their music is a labor of love. It's something I notice when they play “Always Be”. They could be playing in front of a sheet and I would still be sucked into their vortex. I want to feel this way at every single concert.
Not only are they amazing performers, but they seem humble. Jim Adkins shyly introducing a song or simply saying “Hello Vegas!”. In the blink of an eye, it seems, it's over. They wrap up with “A Praise Chorus” and of course, “The Middle”.
Third Eye Blind.
I have been a Third Eye Blind fan since I can remember. I have never seen them live. When Blue came out I could not stop listening to that album. When I saw that they were coming to Vegas for their Summer God's Tour I literally pounced at the opportunity to see them. I was not expecting what happened next.
The set up for this show was obnoxious. People scrambling everywhere pulling stuff out and putting stuff away. There are big triangular lights being propped up. As if that was not enough, a big black sheet is draped over what appears to be another stage on a stage.
They come out and you can see their silhouettes (poorly I might add) and they hug. I'm thinking to myself “They are prepping for an awesome show”. No, it's just theatrics. If you're lost here, believe me, I was too.
The Set Itself.
They open up with “Screamer” from their new album of the same name. The black sheet is dropped and people scramble to pull it off stage. It is so freaking bright from all the crap they have on stage it makes my eyes hurt.
They go into “The Kids Are Coming (To Take You Down)” and after they finish Stephan Jenkins takes off his hoodie. He prances around, and I can't tell if he's doing a very poor Freddie Mercury impression or if this is actually how he acts.
He stands at the front of the stage and announces “This is the second to last show of our Summer God's Tour and this is the smallest venue we've played. We've been playing big arenas!”
I look around The Pearl to see that there are empty seats scattered around. It's not empty by any means, but it's not full. After Stephan makes this random declaration for whatever reason they go into “Never Let You Go” and I am so excited. I love this song and this is the album I adored so much. He barely sings. He does a few “yeah yeah yeah's” and the occasional “ah's”. I am floored. I feel like maybe I am going a little crazy. Did he forget the words? Did he have a few drinks? Is it me? After “Never Let You Go” Stephan goes into a minute-long tangent. I can't even begin to tell you what he was talking about. Not one clue.
Does It Improve? No.
They start to play “Graduate” and it's a poorly sung version with Stephan banging around a tambourine that he took from the drummer. Why? No clue. Can we hear it? No. All I know is that Stephan Jenkins is super pumped to have this tambourine and he's barely singing.
They start to play “Wounded” which is my favorite song off of Blue. It starts off nicely and relatively smooth, and I think that maybe things are going to get better. Maybe he just needed to warm up. Maybe he just had some jitters. No, I have just fed myself some more lies. There is some random scatting. Some screaming. This was one of the more “enjoyable” versions of their set.
There are some parts where the music is good (at best). When the songs are slow that's when I am able to enjoy the vocals. It seems that Stephan is able to focus on what's actually going on here. This was prevalent in “Motorcycle Drive By”. It's when the songs pick up that Stephan is not singing, he's scatting, or he's ad-libbing.
Even when they play “Blinded (When I See You)” it's good, not great. They wrap up with “How's It Going To Be”, “Losing A Whole Year”, and “Semi-Charmed Kind of Life”.
I don't know what to say. It wasn't great. The parts that were enjoyable were too few and far between to make this a good concert. It's obvious to me that Jimmy Eat World has been carrying a lot of weight on this tour. By the time this article comes out the tour will have ended and this is just my opinion after all.
Please check out Ra Ra Riot and give Jimmy Eat World some love! As for me, I'll be taking a break from Third Eye Blind for a while.
PHOTO CREDIT: All photos by Nikkita Christine for ZRockR Magazine, All Rights Reserved.