Photos By: Summer Luu
By: Corey McComb
The Observatory North Park served as a gateway back to the 90’s on Friday night as it welcomed a band that survived the decade’s vast one-hit wonder section: Third Eye Blind.
Founding member and frontman Stephan Jenkins stood at the back of the stage covered in black, from his oversized moon boots up to a beanie that balanced halfway over his head. He knew the songs we came to hear, and even though he’s been playing them for over twenty years, he looked out at the packed house like it was his very first time.
The three chords of “Never Let You Go” were met with excitement as Jenkins ordered the crowd to singalong. “We are all in this together. No spectators”. The lyrics of first album gem “Graduate” were chanted back at him from the pit.
As the energy peaked the jacket and beanie came off and Jenkins strapped the acoustic on. “Motorcycle Drive By” began and shifted the mood from a rock show to a coffee shop love story as couples old and young flirted near the newly added back bar.
For Third Eye Blind, the last 20 years showcase a career that has come full circle in many ways. A 51 year old Jenkins strums songs he’s performed everywhere from house parties, to sold-out stadiums, and back to medium sized venues. He’s singing lyrics that have passed through everything from walkmans to snapchat screens, and judging from the steady conviction in his voice, he’s found new meanings in his own words throughout the years.
While they mixed in plenty of favorites for the loyal ticket holders, the band does have a new album to promote. Dopamine, the 5th and final Third Eye Blind album was released in June of last year. “Rites of Passage” off said album is introduced to the crowd as a “dirty, filthy song about naughty things.”
As predicted, the crowd lit up as 90’s mega hits, “Jumper” and “How’s it Gonna Be” are played back to back, but the unexpected highlight of the night was the band’s tribute to the late David Bowie. Jenkins explained Bowie’s influence over the band and declared, “Every one of us deep down is a peculiar, weird mother fucker”, before the band performed a mashup of “Young Americans”, “Heroes” and “Modern Love”.
After 2 hours of eardrums being drenched in nostalgia, the night was capped with an encore that brought out what may be the most recognizable melody of 1997 with “Semi-Charmed Life”.
Reveling in the sounds of youthful rebellion and contemplating new meanings to old favorites, the multi-generational audience left with an understanding of why Third Eye Blind has forever transcended the label “90’s band”.