The first thing that stood out about the crowd was the age of the people and the number of couples. This was definitely a crowd that had got into JEW around 'Bleed American' and 'Futures', and after asking a few people what they thought of the new albums, it seemed most had just had a quick play through in preparation for the gig.
This initial read of the crowd proved to be pretty bang on, as during the first couple of warm up songs the crowd stood taking in a band that brought many of us back well over a decade. There was just a few hands in the centre of the crowd waving around - indicating a small group of us were up to speed and dedicated followers of their music.
Then, next thing, the unmistakable guitar into to 'Authority Song' drops, and the crowd kicks into gear. It seemed JEW had anticipated this, as Jim told the crowd each time they were going to play something that wasn’t one of their back in the day tracks. The crowd was going so wild during 'Authority Song', that a fight kicked off - one prematurely balding guy punching a kid with glasses in the face, to show his masculinity. Lead singer Jim wasn’t having any of this and cut off mid-song to tell the guys to cool off (check out the aftermath here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Arw2RKpE7tY&feature=youtu.be). Security took this as their time to go and both were dragged out kicking and screaming. The way Jim dealt with this gave the whole crowd a whole new level of energy, and as they rolled into 'Lucky Denver Mint', the crowd was all chanting along with cries of ‘You’re not bigger than this, not better, why can’t you learn’.
As hoped, this lead into ‘Hands Down’, which had all the couple swaying and hands up all around the O2, and you got the feeling that this was the song most people had been waiting for. The rest of the gig was brilliant, smashing through songs like 'Work', 'Pain', 'Sweetness', and making a few in-joke references at the keyboard player still hanging from their York gig. The packed out O2 really felt they got what they came to see.
If you’re thinking of seeing JEW on this tour, but you are worried that you’re not up to speed, then fear not, they know their crowd and they play to please. If you’re hoping for a pop-punk, energy-filled mosh-pit, while shouting out ‘It takes my pain away’, then you may find the concert is a bit lower on energy than you expected.
All in all, an awesome gig, targeted to perfection and a very happy crowd. Personal taste, but this writer was hoping to leave the gig sweating and wiped out - instead we got a great concert with a calm crowd. I guess all of the fans of JEW are at the age of relationships and marriage, because apart from the kid with glasses who took a punch to the face, most people were here to relax and maybe cash in on some after-gig thank you sex from their better halves.