Third Eye Blind
16 December 2013
Crystal Ballroom | Portland, OR
By: Meghan Kearney
Photos by: Marcie Giovannoni
It’s been fifteen years, but I still remember the exact moment I first picked up Third Eye Blind’s self-titled CD. I was twelve years old and I was sitting in the trunk of my friend’s dad’s van. We were headed off on a road trip and the parents handed me a CD player to keep occupied. Different CDs were scattered around the van’s floor and I grabbed one that caught my eye. The scary red face was intriguing. “Third Eye Blind” I read; ah yes, I knew Semi-Charmed Life well. I popped the CD into the Sony Discman, starting from track one. Within minutes I knew I made the right choice. And now, just fifteen years later I finally created a memory for the first time I saw Third Eye Blind live.
Entering Portland’s Crystal Ballroom before the show, the crowd was a unique one. Line wrapped (two full 90 degree turns) around the building, everyone seemed to be somewhere in between late-twenties and mid-thirties, but yet with young, glowing eyes. It was immediately clear this wasn’t any old show. It was a sold out, packed house of fans who at one time picked up the “Semi-Charmed Life” band’s CD for the very first time. Only to grow to love 3eb for much, much more.
Among the packed ballroom, the lights dimmed, the crowd started to cheer, and 3eb took to the stage. An opening jam-style session warmed up the crowd. Finally, a hooded Stephan Jenkins put fifteen years of history into motion’ kicking off the show with their self-title’s intro track “Losing A Whole Year.” “Crystal Baller” was their second song and I was half-hoping Stephan would say just once, “Crystal Ballroom.” Two songs in and the energy wasn’t the energy you might fearfully dread from a band who has been beloved chart-toppers since the late 90s. This 2013 Third Eye Blind played as if it was their first headlining show, but with the precision and charisma of the veteran performers they are.
A few songs in, Stephan asked the crowd to turn to the nearest person we did not know, and introduce ourselves. Soon, the entire ballroom was hugging, smiling, and laughing with strangers. Now as a family, slight notes of “Wounded” started to echo. An extended intro had the crowd nearing torture before it played more beautifully than even Blue offered. Next, a regular sing-a-long to “Slow Motion.” Possibly (or what I can only hope was), the most anticipated track soon arrived; “Motorcycle Driveby.” That beautiful, acoustic guitar began the nostalgia. The desperation of the song picked up along with the music before exploding. As the band personified heart break in the form of sound, the crowd cathartically looked on as the song drifted back down into its soft, heartrending acoustic.
A half-encore, fitted with a drum solo from long-term drummer Brad Hargreaves transitioned into an unexpected hip-hop session. We heard “1000 Julys” and “Anything” complete with a gorgeous piano solo from new keyboardist, Alex Kopp, before the band took off for encore number two. When they returned to the stage, Stephan began conversation with the crowd again. “Thank you for loving us,” he said in a most sincere and humbling tone. He thanked us for the community that we had shaped around their music, and credited our energy for keeping the band writing and performing for all of these years. With that, the opening guitar riff of “Semi-Charmed Life” sent the crowd into an expected frenzy. As the crowd danced, jumped, and “do,do,doed,” 3eb played through the extra verse (that I always like to think distinguishes the radio fans from the album fans). Not a soul in the crowd missed a beat. A somber, but beautiful “God of Wine” closed out the night. “This song is for my mom. This whole show was for my mom. She’s from Portland.” The band thanked us again, promised to return, and kindly welcomed by the crowd, announced their looming return to the studio.
It was a first well spent, closing a circle of fifteen years of love for 3eb. I now eagerly anticipate an equally as wonderful 3eb family show in 2028.
Losing A Whole Year
Never Let You Go
Can You Take Me
Rites of Passage
Motorcycle Drive By
God of Wine