Posted Mar 1st, 2009 (5:19 pm) by Sean Morrissey

The 9:30 club has, since its inception, played host to some of the most memorable live concert moments in Washington D.C.’s history. It has in many ways become the bar to pass for any and every artist hell-bent on conquering the nation’s capital. That said, few groups have made their presence known as triumphantly as Jimmy Eat World. Their history with the widely revered club has been well documented, both in their 2004 DVD Believe in What you Want, and years of various tour stops between what some may feel are bigger and better venues. The club and its fans have returned the favor equally, ensuring a sold out welcome wagon each and every time the group returns. It seems only fitting then that on the 10 year anniversary of what is arguably their strongest album, Clarity, the band returned to a sold out crowd for a performance unlike any other in the group’s lengthy career.

The 10-stop Clarity Tour is unique in that it celebrates in full the album that brought Jimmy Eat World out of the indie rock shadows, thus acknowledging them as a rock & roll entity unto themselves. For a sneak peak at the tour’s set list, one need look no further than the back of the album, as the band had announced that they were to play the album in full, start to finish, just as it appears on the record. Just imagine, a record that you wore out listening to for months, maybe even years, brought to life right in front of you.

It’s not uncommon for a band with as much material as Jimmy Eat World to shy away from the older and ‘more primitive’ songs of the early years, instead siding on the fresh cuts of the new album. Fortunately for those in attendance that night, no song was left half empty. From the beautifully harmonized “Table for Glasses” to the album’s epic closer “Goodbye Sky Harbor,” every moment of Clarity poured out with as much passion and fervor as it had on its first listen a decade ago.

It is difficult to explain just how it feels to watch a group as accomplished as Jimmy Eat World. Singer Jim Adkins expressed in one brief respite his humbled thanks, acknowledging how good the 9:30 club and its fans had been to the band over the years, to raucous applause by all in attendance at the sold out show. Most notable of all were the expressions on stage, packed to the rim, ready to give all to the crowd without leaving anything back. No one comes to the 9:30 club to half ass.

Ever crowd pleasing, the shows encore brought together the group’s most recognized songs from 2001’s Bleed American. “Sweetness” and “the Middle” helped mark the end of a unique and honestly unforgettable show. Amid friendly waves and flying guitar picks the band quietly left the stage. It was a full two minutes before anyone in the audience left their posts, holding out for even one more song. Clarity, for those who have been touched by it, is a landmark album, and it seems only fitting that its celebratory performance be as important.

Thankfully, it was.

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