by Dan Radin
From the moment a dozen cheerleaders with pom poms stepped onto the stage for the opening song, we knew it wasn’t going to be a typical Third Eye Blind concert.
The band sold out the outdoor backyard stage at Stubb’s, where most fans presumably bought tickets to drunkenly sing along to TEB classics like “Jumper” and “Never Let You Go.” Between weekends of mainstage slots at ACL Fest, and with a new album to showcase, Stephan Jenkins and company had other plans: they told the crowd they weren’t going to play any songs they’d be performing at ACL the following day.
“We’re gonna play side A of our new album “Screamer” that just came out today!” Jenkins shouted excitedly after opening with the title track. A few folks promptly exited. “K guys, see ya! Thanks for coming!” the singer joked and waved.
Third Eye Blind continued to play a string of new songs to a very patient but eager crowd. The band played tightly, and the songs seemed to be received just fine, but there was still an uneasiness from unfamiliarity. The audience was waiting to hear their favorite songs.
Jenkins played his frontman schtick well in defense of the new album. “Alright! We only have one more song on side A!”, lightening the mood. Following “Turn Me On,” he knew it was time to re-engage the crowd. “Let’s play some old songs.”
“We haven’t played this song in about 16 years… This is a song about the night I almost died on my motorcycle,” Jenkins voiced before “My Hit and Run.” He then strummed a phenomenal solo rendition of “Slow Motion” on electric guitar. The audience started to come around.
Even though Third Eye Blind had an alternate agenda for the evening, the band made good use of their stage time to highlight extracurriculars. Jenkins, who had spent a day this week at St. David’s Hospital playing to patients, made sure to tell the crowd they were acting charitably by coming to the show, and that a cut of the ticket sales were going to support Gilda’s Club/Breast Cancer Research. “My mother is… my mother was… a breast cancer survivor,” Jenkins told a silent audience. This is the one song I just sat down and wrote,” going into “Who Am I.”
The memories of the songs seemed to wear on Jenkins as the night went on. “I want to invite you all to show each other kindness tonight,” as he reached his own arms out. “This is how we do it at Third Eye Blind shows. Reach out to a stranger and say, ‘Hello, I hope you have a beautiful night.” The atmosphere instantly lifted.
The band did finally go back on their non-ACL set promise, and play “How’s It Going To Be,” to wildly enthusiastic response. They then followed up with deep cuts for the encore, “Narcolepsy” and “The Background.” It was a beautiful ending to an unorthodox TEB show.
Third Eye Blind didn’t play the hits on Saturday, but they reminded us often that this “semi-charmed life” is really about taking care of those around us. After all they’ve given others, listening to the new songs and the band’s heartfelt message is the least we could do to reciprocate.