Written by Samuel Barker
Jun 13, 2003 at 08:00 PM
ImageThe year was 1997 and the every other song seemed to be a single from Third Eye Blind. Their blend of pop-laden rock grasped on to a lot of kids who had grown tired of the downer rock created by the grunge scene. They were something new, something positive in a scene filled by downers, and they were loved for it.Their first album, a self-titled affair, blew up and set the band on course to become a heavy hitter in the rock scene. Their 1999 follow-up, Blue, showed some growth, but lacked the sugary draw of their first release. Regardless, people noticed it.

Then came the drought. After three and half years without a new album, Third Eye Blind released Out of the Vein, which shows a lot of growth from the band and, as far as musical accomplishment goes, stands on it’s own from anything the band had released prior.

Of course, there is always the skeptical. Those who wonder if the time away would hurt the band’s ability to draw an audience. Coming off a late-summer tour with the Goo Goo Dolls in 2002, the band definitely found an avenue to be seen, but would it carry over to this summer?

The answer seems to be yes, as the Verizon filled with fans by the beginning of Third Eye Blind’s set and even began seeing people file into the balcony, the draw appeared to still exist.

Having last seen the band in the late 90s, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised by the energy and enthusiasm displayed throughout the band’s 18-song, 90-minute set. Lead vocalist/guitarist Stephan Jenkins alternated between playing riffs and abandoning the guitar to concentrate on singing and getting the audience involved while lead guitarist Tony Fredianelli entertained the crowd with blazing leads and even some teeth-picking ala Jimi Hendrix.

Opening the set with the first song from their current album, Blinded, the audience was introduced to the new material from the beginning. Which displayed the band’s bravery and desire to showcase it’s evolution rather than hide behind older, loved songs.

Of course, the old material wasn’t completely abandoned. In fact, all three of the band’s albums were represented fairly equally throughout the night. Of course, the last song of the band’s first encore, Semi-Charmed Life, set the audience off and gave them all a trip back to the summer of ’97.

In a surprise, non-scripted move, the band returned to the stage for a second encore which included Slow Motion and God of Wine. Needless to say, fans loved getting a little more of the band and cheered just as hard after this encore as they did after the first.

So, in the end, everyone got what they wanted, the band was able to display its growth and show how its evolved and the audience got to hear something new and relive their past favorites. It was definitely a win-win situation.