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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Third Eye Blind Review

Ladies and gentlemen, I am here to tell you that Stephan Jenkins has still got it. He may be 52 years old, but do not doubt his ability to work both a stage and a skin-tight leather jacket. Third Eye Blind performed at Providence’s The Strand (formerly Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel) on Oct. 5, and they rocked it.
Hot off the heels of their UK leg of the Summer Gods tour, the band showed no signs of jet lag despite having only four days to prepare for the opening night of the US Fall of the Summer Gods tour. “We didn’t even think we’d be able to be here tonight,” Jenkins told the very appreciative Rhode Island crowd, explaining how little time they had to rehearse for the first night of their 32-show tour. Admittedly, the band didn’t feel entirely confident in taking the stage that night, and Jenkins added, “So it feels good knowing that we are among friends tonight.” 
Of course, not very many bands in the industry could perform after such a quick turnaround, but then again, not very many bands are still performing hit singles that were released 20 years ago. Third Eye Blind’s debut album came out in 1997, and although Jenkins and drummer Brad Hargreaves are the only original members still in the group, it’s hard to believe that the band needs very much practice when it comes to performing fan favorites like “Semi-Charmed Life.” Even the most casual of Third Eye Blind listeners can sing along to the iconic “do do do’s” of the crystal meth addiction inspired track, so it came as a shock (maybe even to the band) that the crowd was at its rowdiest during deeper cut favorites like “Graduate” and “Crystal Baller.”  
The 24 song setlist contained the perfect ratio of beloved past tracks and catchy new bops that were crowd pleasers just as much as any of their songs from the 90s. When the band performed the lesser known “Dopamine” from the 2015 album of the same name, it was all too evident as to why the band is able to tour just as successfully now as they did 20 years ago: they’re still making stellar music. It’s both a dark and feel-good track that sounds like it could’ve been one of their hit songs decades ago, yet it also has the makings of a fresh, unique, and even young contemporary alt-radio hit, packed with the the raw edginess that is a given for a Third Eye Blind song. You know a song is good when it can still get a crowd jumping and screaming even when the majority of fans in the room aren’t familiar with the lyrics. 
The band didn’t forget any fan favorites, however, making sure to play “Never Let You Go,” “How’s It Going To Be,” “Deep Inside of You,” and “Losing A Whole Year.” A stand out of the night was the 1997 “Motorcycle Drive By,” with the full band kicking in halfway through the song, behind Jenkins’s rockstar drawled “I’ve never been so alone and I… have never been so alive.” The crowd’s energy was insatiable for the rest of the night from that moment on, and Third Eye Blind certainly felt it too, exchanging unbelieving smiles with each other as if they were still shocked to be in front of a crowd that loves their music.
There’s nothing Jenkins can’t do. He can infuse elements of hip-hop with alternative music; he can graduate as valedictorian of UC Berkeley with an English degree; he can save children from drowning in a rip tide (true story); he can even make 1999’s People Magazine’s Most Beautiful People list (I want him to know that I think he can and should still make the list in 2017). Most importantly, he can write songs that connect with people 20 years after they were released.
The atmosphere of The Strand was at its most heartfelt during “Jumper,” a track pleading an unnamed listener not to commit suicide. Glancing around the venue, there were many friends embracing while singing along, but right nearby me there was a girl moved to tears while holding hands with friends. In that moment, the power of Third Eye Blind’s music was undeniable. They make music that is real, music that helps people feel as though they belong in the world. That is why they are still here, performing their old tracks—because they mean something.