Third Eye Blind, The Upwelling at The Fox Oakland, 8/17/09

by Dakin Hardwick on August 19, 2009

the band. sitting down.

the band. sitting down.

The last time I saw Third Eye Blind was in 1996. They opened for Oasis at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. They didn’t have a record deal, and nobody who purchased tickets purchased tickets to see them because, well, they were never advertised. I thought that they were catchy, but didn’t really think much of them.  One year later, they released the record that was impossible to hide from. Cut to 1999, they release a second record, called Blue. Didn’t have any hits, and the band seemed to fall off of everyone’s radar.  In 2003, they released a third record, which featured production by Andrew WK and vocals from Kimya Dawson of The Moldy Peaches and Kim Shattuck of The Muffs.  It sold about 500,000 copies, which is a dramatic drop off from the six million of the first record. It was also the record that taught me to like the band.  They were much more aggressive and passionate then they ever had been, which of course meant they were dropped from their major label deal.

Fast forward to 2009. They release their first record on an independent label.  Bands such as Fall Out Boy and Taking Back Sunday rise to prominence, borrowing a few strategies from the 3EB playbook, especially the fusion of power pop with elements of grunge. They think it’s time for a comeback. It’s time for the rest of the world to figure it out, too.

The show opened with a brief set by a band called The Upwelling from New York City.  They had excellent stage presence, and played some catchy pop rock, and a singer that sounded like he taught himself to sing by listening to The Strokes and Interpol. A competent set, interesting enough to hold he attention of the crowd, but brief enough to not upset anyone.

3EB came on at 9:20 pm, and played an instrumental track with a woman dancing behind the drum riser, and then played played a handful of tracks off the record Blue. Quite to my surprise, the crowd seemed to know every lyric to every song. In fact, throughout the show, everyone seemed to know all of the lyrics to everything, even the many songs played off the new album, which was released that very day. (It leaked six days prior to the show, and the band also had the album streaming on their website.)

The core band was filled out by six female backup singers, and a woman who alternated between guitar and keyboards when needed. Their playing was solid, and Stephen Jenkins was in fine voice. He also was in great shape and has managed to retain his good looks that defied the fact that he is in his late forties.

Halfway through the set, the band walked off stage, leaving Mr. Jenkins to play a few songs off the new record solo-acoustic, and then he began the song “How’s It Gonna Be” with the rest of the band joining him one-by-one throughout the song. They closed the main set by playing an extended version of “Jumper,” complete with drum solo and multiple fake endings, then gave us their first single, the infinitely catchy “Semi-Charmed Life.”  The encore led Gordon to ask “What do they have left to play?” To answer his question, they played the final single from the first record, the epic power ballad, “God Of Wine,” which was the perfect cathartic ending to an excellent show.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Vanessa August 20, 2009 at 10:20 am

Late 40s? Really? Man I’m getting old!

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Dakin August 20, 2009 at 10:22 am

He was old to begin with… I think he was 36 when the band got signed…

Reply

Marie Carney August 20, 2009 at 4:05 pm

lol. that was what I thought too!

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