Third Eye Blind
w/ Silversun Pickups, Ocean Park Standoff
UC Greek Theater
July 23, 2017
Photos and review by Jared Stossel
"We're going to walk off the stage when this song ends, and when we come back, we're going to play that first album. Front to back," vocalist Stephan Jenkins remarks to the Berkeley audience An ecstatic roar erupted from the crowd in a way that I'd never heard at the UC Greek Theater. There seemed to be a genuine look of shock and surprise upon the faces of those in attendance at alternative rock act Third Eye Blind's concluding date of their 'Summer Gods' US Tour. Whether it was a reaction out of surprise, or just a genuine happiness that all of the advertisements were indeed correct, the San Francisco natives returned to the stage after a brief moment to power through their critically acclaimed self-titled debut album.
Third Eye Blind are a band that have achieved a level of success that any working rock band would envy without question. It definitely means something when a band is able to take on a 'ten-year anniversary' tour for an album that defined a great deal of success for your career as a band. But if you're an act like 3EB that has sold over twelve million copies of your albums, toured the world countless times, and are able to come back to a completely filled amphitheater and produce a top-notch performance of the most important alternative rock albums of the generation twenty years after its release, it's probably a sign that you've made a significant and positive impact on the music scene.
The show was kicked off with an opening set from up-and-coming alternative rock act Ocean Park Standoff. Their thirty-minute set was followed by an extended, eleven song performance from special guests Silversun Pickups. I think that the lineup of this tour was well-assembled: you have Ocean Park Standoff, a newer act in the scene, that play with a good deal of energy but not so much that it's overwhelming for the first act of the evening. Silversun Pickups start performing as the sun begins to makes its way down over the horizon, gradually picking up intensity in both song selection and energy as it gets darker and darker out. By the time Third Eye Blind is ready to take the stage, the audience is sufficiently warmed up and ready to watch.
The band's first six songs are comprised of a selection from various albums the band have produced in their astounding catalogue over the years, with songs like "Company of Strangers" (We Are Drugs), "Shipboard Cook" (Dopamine), and "Wounded" (Blue). Jenkins remains on the stage as the other band members walk off to change instruments, and he talks to the crowd. It's a huge amphitheater, yet it feels intimate, as if he was right there next to you even if you were all the way back in the lawn seats. He talks about the band's career, how this is the final night of their long tour, and how they're playing the first self-titled album from start to finish. They waste no time launching straight into "Losing A Whole Year". The crowd screams every word back as an illumination of words brightens the stage: the words THIRD EYE BLIND appear in gigantic, capital letters behind the band, a backdrop commemorating twenty years of an iconic record, a light that shines brightly on the five-piece act throughout the set.
"Jumper". "Semi-Charmed Life" (nice eighteen-string axe, by the way, Stephan). "Graduate". "How's It Going To Be". This portion of the show alone elicits a sing-along like no other. As the album winds down, Jenkins and Co. stop short of one track, instead launching into the massively popular "Never Let You Go" from Blue. The collective members of Silversun Pickups and Ocean Park Standoff rush the stage, dancing and singing the words in one last hurrah before the final curtain call of the tour. After a lovely moment shared between all three bands, the band head right into the closing track, "God Of WIne". Tears were shed by members in the front row, handing flowers up to Stephan Jenkins as he sang each lyric in harmony with the crowd. After taking a bow, the Summer Gods departed the stage, onto the next adventure, leaving a hometown audience extremely satisfied and ready to take on the world.
I mentioned in a piece of writing earlier this week that the reason we care so much about the people we don't know yet "know" so well (i.e., the relationship between fans and the bands they love) are because their artwork has helped us define who we are. They're there for us during the good and the bad, saying everything that we're feeling in a way that just feels right. Third Eye Blind are a band that have always done this, and it's clear that their self-titled debut is a record that has stood the test of time.