Third Eye Blind: No Politics, Just Pure ’90s Rock

As a man of 5’7″, there’s nothing I can do about the former.

I still insist in my proudest moments that a small growth spurt is waiting around the corner. In reality, I’ll be waiting for that spurt as long as Tom Cruise has.

The latter can be a matter of opinion. Personally, a cold beer fits perfectly well with good live music. Plus, stone-cold sobriety at a concert helps you notice distractions around you — pushy neighbors, splattering beer from falling plastic cups and cigarette butts around your feet.

When I recently saw Third Eye Blind at the Maine State Pier in Portland, Maine, I was taking in the show with a completely clear mind … and shoes without lifts.

Finishing up a summer tour, Third Eye Blind came out after the show’s solid openers, Town Meeting and Tancred.

Town Meeting got the crowd warmed up first. Their sea shanty-type music fit the venue perfectly. Next to Maine water with boats surfing by and a colorful summer night sky, Town Meeting was a fitting band for a New England night.

After Tancred won some people over and got them moving, Third Eye Blind made its way to the stage. Best known for ’90s hits like “Semi-Charmed Life” and “How’s It Going to Be?” the band exemplified the decade’s style.

That’s particularly true of lead singer Stephan Jenkins, wearing a hoodie draped almost completely over his eyes.

In the middle of performing “Never Let You Go,” Jenkins stopped the show to talk about their tour and the power of living in the moment.

He certainly knows how to sell a good time.

Third Eye Blind - Get Me out of Here

After asking everyone to tell a stranger to “have a beautiful night,” Jenkins jumped back into the show. For a man in his early 50s, Jenkins moves, rocks and even looks like a musician at the beginning of his career. He has an infectious passion that both longtime fans and newcomers in the crowd seemed to latch onto.

The most popular songs were, of course, the show’s highlight. The large collection of ’90s classics played well to fans high on nostalgia, even if they didn’t personally live it. Nearly everyone in the crowd was between the ages of 20 and 30, enjoying the decade of music before pop took over.

“Jumper” went over best with fans screaming the lyrics as Jenkins strummed his acoustic guitar. “Graduate” and others also had listeners off their feet or simply mouthing the lyrics.

Third Eye Blind - Deep Inside of You (Live)

Switching up the setlist, Jenkins took a dig at modern music and its overreliance on technology over pure instrumentals.

“We are a motherf***ing guitar rock band, and we can do what we want,” he said.

Third Eye Blind has become more political over the last year. The group earned headlines for taunting a Republican National Convention crowd, and one of their new songs celebrates the Black Lives Matter movement.

The band stayed away from anything remotely divisive for the Portland crowd. Instead, the band members did their best to bring a crowd together on a cool summer night.

FAST FACT: Stephan Jenkins once was part of Puck and Natty, a rap duo which landed a song on the “BeverlyHills, 90210” soundtrack in 1992. Jenkins says he earned $7,800 for the song, “Just Wanna Be Your Friend.” 

Despite a perhaps overcrowded venue and existing far out of their time in many people’s minds, Third Eye Blind put on an energetic and rather beautiful concert. Their songs are authentic, and Jenkins has a passion he seems eager to share.

Kids today may consider them old school, but the members of Third Eye Blind proved at the Maine State Pier they still have plenty of rocking years ahead of them.

Third Eye Blind’s current tour hits Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle, Wash. Sept 4, KABOO Del Mar in Del Mar, Calif. Sept. 17 and the Life Is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas, Nev. Sept. 25.

Photo credit: nan palmero via / CC BY

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