Third Eye Blind frontman and founder Stephan Jenkins had the crowd at Music Farm Columbia in the palm of his hand Thursday night as they played a sold out show days after the capital city made national news for an epic thousand-year flood. Even though the show was moved to an earlier time so people could obey the city-wide midnight curfew, the band was excited to be in town after rumors that the show might be cancelled. As Third Eye Blind turned in a high energy, uplifting performance, the crowd echoed that sentiment with roaring applause that was sometimes louder than the band, along with over a thousand voices singing along.
Third Eye Blind opened their set with Jenkins nowhere to be seen, hiding in the shadows as they played “Everything is Easy” off their latest EP Dopamine on which they’re touring. That led into “Wounded” off their sophomore album, a fan favorite that lit up the crowd as Jenkins made his appearance dressed in all black, wearing a jacket and beanie down over his eyes, he stood at the front of the stage taking on the crowd who exploded in response. Even from their earliest shows, Jenkins ability to connect with the crowd has been one of the bands strongest live aspects. Each move he made was perfect, from building up the crowd by telling Columbia how resilient they are, to encouraging everyone to greet the person next to them and let loose a little for the night. Overall they played a mix of old and new, with all songs being well received. The first hit they played was “Never Let You Go” and with the opening riff the girl in front of me flung her Jager bomb drink on everyone surrounding her. A full cup of Jager and Red Bull really?? I wasn’t bothered by it, we’re at a rock show.
The set rolled from there, through “Motorcycle Drive By” and other favorites from the late 90’s, many of the songs which shaped the young professional crowd, many of whom I’m guessing had babysitters at home. Playing over an hour, 3EB got stronger as the set went along, saving hits like “How’s It Going to Be” (sans autoharp), “Jumper”, and of course closing their encore with “Semi-Charmed Life.” The highlight of the set might have been “Graduate” though, as Jenkins built the crowd up before the guitarist went into the instantly recognizable rolling guitar riff that opens one of the bands most popular songs. The roar from the crowd after “Jumper”, the last song before the encore, was deafening. It was seriously at a painful decibel level, but a level that was deserved as the packed room beckoned the band back on stage. Those songs have aged remarkably well, and at no point did the bad seem anything but relevant and current. That can’t be said for other popular bands from their heyday.
This is two shows in a row where things have come to an emotional level and both times the band has responded above and beyond. Third Eye Blind couldn’t have been more in tune with the way Columbia was feeling that night, looking for a reason to let go for a couple of hours from the destruction outside. Last week Dawes offered a similar sentiment as they dedicated a song to police officer Greg Alia who tragically lost his life earlier that day in the line of duty. Music just has that ability to bring people together, and let you lose yourself in the moment at least for a few hours.