What better way to close out the 20-year celebration of being a band than an intimate show in your home-state? This is exactly how Third Eye Blind counted down the last hours of their 20th year anniversary of being a band – playing a nearly sold-out show at the San Jose Civic (the second to last of their tour) before closing out their year in Sacramento.
The band, who have been on tour since May, originally formed here in the Bay Area… and the adoration from fans is obvious as they crowd into the venue, excited to catch a glimpse (and selfie in front) of the “THIRD EYE BLIND” backdrop before the fog takes over. That’s right – the show, which was set to begin at 9pm – consisted of simply Third Eye Blind. No opening acts, no bells and whistles. Only few bands can get away without another set to warm-up the crowd, but if anyone can do this successfully, Third Eye Blind can.
The night began with “Losing A Whole Year,” fitting due to it being the opening track off the band’s self-titled debut release back in 1997. Their perfectly crafted setlist, featuring some of their most timeless hit tracks, appeased the fans for around the first twenty minutes of the show. When finally, “Semi-Charmed Life” was performed, the venue erupted into cheers and it was clear from the very first chord that lead singer Stephan Jenkins hardly needed to carry the song, as everyone in attendance screamed the lyrics to this universal hit, who — whether you’re a fan of rock-n-roll, in your twenties or forties, male or female, only know of the song from the countless uses in film or television… — knows and loves.
It is only seconds after the song pauses before men and women alike are yelling out “I LOVE YOU”s for the taking. “I love you back, bro.” Jenkins teases, as he assures, oh yes, he can hear every single one of you, and see every single one, calling the show perfect and a “basement party” before singling out the few scattered atop the balcony in seats. “There are no spectators at a Third Eye Blind show!” Jenkins says before clicking his tongue. He then expresses how he and the band simply do not want the partying, the celebrating their 20 years to come to an end. How do you prevent the inevitable? With happy vibes, of course.
“We don’t want it to end, but it has to end. So, let’s get a vibe set. It takes a little magic… what I want is, I want everyone to show a little bit of courage even if you’re shy, I’m shy. People can hurt you but not here. Not tonight. This is family. Turn around and find someone, and say ‘I’m glad you’re here, I’m glad you made it.’ Find someone. Tap them on the shoulder. Give hugs. Doesn’t that feel amazing? Let’s have that gathering moment. Everyone sing with me.”
Jenkins shares this sentiment, as several concert-goers follow the instructions and from the balcony, I witnessed several people running to find, to touch, to hug and address as many people as possible, even up in the balcony where people rose from their seats to give fist-bumps, hugs and inspiration, before all of us joined in to close out “Semi-Charmed Life,” definitely playing into making it feel like one big family basement get-together.
The show continues with other hits, “Graduate,” “Dopamine” and “London” before the intimacy returns and Jenkins surprises fans by claiming tonight wasn’t supposed to happen. “Do you know the story?” he asks, before telling a tale of how the show this evening was intended to be canceled due to guitarist Kryz Reid having a nasty accident where he slipped and fell on black ice in Montana, resulting in a broken arm. Instead of canceling the remaining dates of tour – Kryz’s own guitar tech, Joseph Pepper (who also plays guitar for Cartel) had stepped up to the plate, explaining how he’s been watching Kryz play every night on tour for the past two years.
“At first… I was like, I don’t know. Because, you know, Third Eye Blind’s music is so involved… because, how do I put this? To be in Third Eye Blind… you have to be the shit. But we gave him a chance, listened to him play… and this kid, he’s killer at guitar. and Kryz is back at the soundboard cheering him on! It’s a miracle!”
The evening slowed down for a bit while the band performed, “Slow Motion,” a daunting and gruesome number which happens to be one of our all-time favorites. The next string of tracks becomes an acoustic sing-along, beginning with “Hows It Gonna Be” which Jenkins admits, they considered not performing, but had to include it due to the 20th anniversary and how if they perform it, it has to be campfire style, with everyone singing along.
Jenkins is joined on stage by drummer, Brad Hargreaves as the two give an incredibly personal rendition of Beyonce’s track, “Mine.” Jenkins explains, this kind of unconventional and unexpected jam session is just this thing the two like to do, actually performing the cover song for his friends’ wedding last year during Burning Man.
“That’s how we do it.. me and Brad.”
As the set picks back up (slowly by surely) with “Motorcycle Driveby” the stage is illuminated with a single spotlight on Jenkins, before lighting up as the band joins him back on stage. The song, which features an energetic end-bridge, causes the venue to ignite in flashes of hot white from the strobe lights before things slow back down and return to the beautifully thought out singular spotlight.
The band performed nearly twenty tracks, including the traditional two-song encore. As the night wound down, Jenkins explained that their future plans include hibernating and eventually making a new record.
“We had an amazing…amazing year on the road and that’s thanks to you guys. Thanks for keeping us alive.”
Check out our exclusive photos from the evening below, as well as the band’s full set list!
Losing a Whole Year
Blinded (When I See You)
Company of Strangers
Slow Motion (Acoustic)
How’s It Gonna Be (Acoustic)
Mine (Acoustic Beyonce cover)
Motorcycle Drive By
Never Let You Go
God of Wine