Uber Driver: “So who are you going to see?” Me: “Third Eye Blind.” Driver: “Wait… How old are you?”
Yes, Third Eye Blind has been alive for more years than I have, but that didn’t show by the end of the band’s set Thursday night at the Fillmore Silver Spring.
The show started off slowly, though, with the band having a delayed arrival on stage and opening with a lackluster “Rites of Passage” (the EDM portion of the song did not transfer to live performance well). A few songs in and I was pretty nervous. Is this how it’s gonna be? (Third Eye Blind pun, ok I’ll stop now…) Lead singer Stephan Jenkins left portions of the songs unsung, having the crowd finish the band’s most popular lines for him, which initially gave the band a disorganized and fatigued aura. However, at Jenkins’ first break, he explained. “We just finished touring. This actually isn’t part of our tour, so we were just backstage trying to figure out what we were going to do. We’re kind of up here just winging it.” While at first this didn’t go well, the band got its act together and you could tell they were really actually having fun, an energy that transferred to the crowd. “Winging it” gave the show a special vibe, as Jenkins freely jumped around the stage, assisting drummer Brad Hargreaves with crashing cymbals at one point. The band tore through their classics, including throwback “Crystal Baller,” a song which Jenkins explained isn’t normally on their touring set list, but since they were officially off tour…
The band broke away from the immortal nineties songs to play 3 songs of off the We Are Drugs EP, which the group dropped in October – “Company of Strangers,” “Queen of Daydreams,” and my favorite off of the EP, “Don’t Give In” – as well as the biggest hits off of the Dopamine album released last summer.
“Everything is Easy” was performed flawlessly towards the end of the show, giving life that the beginning of the show lacked. The set, Jenkins stated, was only slotted to go for one hour, which 3EB aggressively dismissed, playing for nearly 45 minutes after an hour past the start time, more than making up for the initial lag and not allowing for one favorite to be missed. The show’s energy only built, and 3EB showed no signs of wear by the end. Jenkins constantly threw messages of hope, unity, and acceptance out to the audience, mirroring the band’s well-known political activism (apparently in a pre-show interview with FM 94.7’s DJs, Jenkins was uninterested in fielding questions about “Jumper” and instead wanted to talk about his upcoming meeting with Al Gore’s people regarding climate change). Jenkins repeatedly thanked the audience for giving him hope. It’s a mutual feeling, Stephan.
Usually by the end of a show, energy is tapering, but that was not the case Thursday night. If the beginning was an awkward open, by the end the concert was in full party mode. Third Eye Blind delivered on expectations of a feel-good show of optimism and upbeat alt rock (disregarding 3EB’s notoriously darker lyrics). If this was “winging it,” a formal tour show would promise grand things. Third Eye Blind’s future looks to remain bright heading into 2017.