Review: Third Eye Blind at Rams Head Live

Third Eye Blind performed Monday night at a sold-out Rams Head Live. Frequent Midnight Sun contributor Jay Trucker has this review:

As with its music, there is nothing particularly ornate about Third Eye Blind’s stage show, which features a gigantic block-lettered Third Eye Blind banner and a small oriental rug at center stage. The band, which features former "TRL" heartthrob Stephan Jenkins, sounded well-rehearsed. Although Jenkins is the sole original member performing in the current lineup, his bandmates sounded professional and seemed content to defer the small, carpeted center of the stage to Jenkins.   

The sound at Rams Head further garbled the already obtuse delivery of Jenkins’ vocals, but that didn’t seem to bother the sold-out crowd on hand for a Monday night show, as they sang along to every “whoa” “woo” and occasional falsetto chorus from the first line of opener “Thanks a Lot” through the set’s end.

Casual fans of Third Eye Blind may be surprised by the number of hits the California alterna-pop group have in its catalogue. A product of the pre-YouTube, big-record-label era, Third Eye Blind got a major push for its first two albums. The group's eponymous debut charted five singles in the late '90s, a feat only accomplished today by pop-star juggernauts such as Katy Perry

Early success allowed the band to sprinkle Monday’s set-list with lesser hits such as “Losing a Whole Year” and “Never Let You Go,” which received roughly the same amount of applause as Jenkins received for donning a new hat or wrapping his scarf around his guitar. The fit, scruffy 47-year-old singer played to his strengths, posing arms crossed in a hooded sweatshirt and interacting with the crowd long enough to get a few cheers just for being himself without grinding the proceedings to a screeching halt.

Of course, the band’s biggest hits, “Graduate,” “Jumper” and “Semi-Charmed Life,” got the most fist-pumps from the appreciative crowd. Mid-set ballad “Jumper” received the most extensive reworking;  it was pushed over the 10-minute mark by virtue of a mid-song drum solo that marked the only fraction of the evening spotlighting a band member other than Jenkins. Following “Jumper,” the appropriately named “Slow Motion” was a bit of a comedown, but the band quickly won the audience back by throwing glowsticks to a number of fans on the first floor just in time for the encore.

“Semi-Charmed Life,” perhaps the biggest methamphetamine-themed hit song with a scat chorus of “doot-do-doots” of all time, opened the band’s encore, but the remainder of the encore was rather anti-climactic without any hits with which to finalize the evening. Yet, when the lights went on for good at around 10:15, fans filtered out of the club, happy, if not overwhelmed. In all, Monday’s Third Eye Blind show highlights the quartet’s current place in pop culture. Not hokey or dated-sounding enough to truly qualify as a nostalgia act, Third Eye Blind is the perfect mainstay for the no-format format of terrestrial radio stations such as Jack FM. They fit in pretty much anywhere, and may even incite a spirited sing-along or two if the mood is right.

Set Highlights (excluded last three songs of encore)

"Thanks a Lot"
"Crystal Baller"
"Can You Take Me"
"Losing a Whole Year"
"Never Let You Go"
"Bonfire Song"
"NonDairy Creamer"
"Jumper (extended drum solo)"
"Slow Motion"
"Dao of St. Paul"
"Monotov’s Private Opera"
"Semi-Charmed Life"

Jay Trucker is a frequent contributor to Midnight Sun. He teaches at the Community College of Baltimore County in Dundalk and blogs occassionally at He last reviewed Stone Temple Pilots at Pier Six Pavilion.

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