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Third Eye Blind - Reviewed

by Ryan Kenney

Third Eye Blind at Stir Concert Cove Photo Credit: @thatonemitchkid

“Turn to someone you don’t know and tell them you hope they have a beautiful night,” Third Eye Blind lead singer Stephan Jenkins said. And what a beautiful night it turned out to be.

I arrived at Stir Concert Cove in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Wednesday, June 30, 2022, with varying knowledge of the three bands I was prepared to see. Four hours later, I returned to my car having received one thing in common with each group: well-put-together sets that delivered summer vibes and a sprinkle of alt-rock nostalgia.

Opener Hockey Dad, a young, Australian indie-rock group, kicked off the night. Hockey Dad is from Windang, New South Wales. This band consists of two members, drummer Billy Fleming and vocalist and guitarist Zach Stephenson. They formed in 2013 and have released four studio albums: Boronia (2016), Blend Inn (2018), Brain Candy (2020), and T's To Cross (2022). Their music is a mix of surf rock, garage rock, and punk rock.

I wasn’t familiar with the band before the concert, but I’ll be adding songs like “Join the Club” and “Seaweed” to my playlist after experiencing electric live performances of each. Hockey Dad’s set caught the attention of guests in the hotel behind the Stir Cove stage, who could be seen peeking through their blinds and bobbing their heads. Hockey Dad is the perfect band to rock a college campus on a Friday night or, better yet, set the tone for an iconic main act while fans grab their drinks and claim their seats.

John Nolan at Stir Concert Cove Photo Credit: @thatonemitchkid

Next, high energy feature act Taking Back Sunday took the stage to a growing crowd and setting sun. Taking Back Sunday is from Long Island, New York. Formed in 1999 by Adam Lazzara, John Nolan, Shaun Cooper, and Mark O'Connell is known for their emo sound, which incorporates elements of pop punk, post-hardcore, and alternative rock. To date Taking Back Sunday has released seven studio albums, all of which have been commercially successful. Their most popular songs include 'Cute Without the E (Cut from the Team)', 'Make Damn Sure', and 'The Ballad of Sal Villanueva'.

Much of the crowd was like me, marginally familiar with the band and a few of its biggest songs. Those who fell outside of this group, however, held superfan status. This was best evidenced by the man to my right sporting his “Taking Back Sunday” tour t-shirt, who told anyone who’d listen this was his fourth time seeing “the best band there is” and organized a miserably failed crowd-surfing attempt. During the performance, lead singer Adam Lazzara let the lyrics possess and work through him. His facial expressions, hand gestures and trembling voice painted lyrical pictures I couldn’t help but be captivated by. TBS masterfully navigated a cohesive set made up of cheeky banter, emotion-evoking tunes like 'Call Me in the Morning' and popular head-bangers like 'Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut From the Team).' TBS impressed and made me momentarily forget it wasn’t the main act I was there to see, while still leaving room and raising hype for the set to come.

Kryz Reid (left) Brad Hargreaves (top) Stephan Jenkins (bottom) Photo Credit: @thatonemitchkid

What was to come? Class and professionalism. A band that knew how to put on a show. On its 25th anniversary tour, “Summer Gods,” Third Eye Blind proved it still had its old magic while also adding new, ear-catching tunes to its repertoire. Third Eye Blind is an American rock band formed in San Francisco, California, in 1993. The band consists of Stephan Jenkins (vocals, guitar), Kevin Cadogan (guitar), Arion Salazar (bass), and Brad Hargreaves (drums). The band's debut album, Third Eye Blind, was released in 1997 and spawned the hit singles "Semi-Charmed Life", "Jumper", and "How's It Going to Be?". The album was a commercial success, selling over 10 million copies in the United States. Third Eye Blind has released six studio albums, all of which have been certified gold or platinum in the United States. The band has sold over 30 million records worldwide.

At 9:30 p.m., band members entered one by one to a simple yet intriguing stage design fit with a ramp and stage walls bordered by wood branches, a grand piano, and an elevated drum kit. Nature’s lantern set, the stage lights came on and Third Eye Blind jumped straight into the music, never slowing down. Creative instrumentals helped the band seamlessly transition from song to song and fit in a high volume of music. This performance style carries a risk, however. During a more unfamiliar tune toward the end of the uninterrupted song streak, several audience members began disengaging and pondering a trip to the bathroom or beer tents. But, Third Eye Blind’s experience and well-crafted setlist came into play and saved the day. The band’s hit “Graduate” immediately followed and pulled the crowd back in with hands to the sky.

Halfway through the show, band members exited the stage, leaving Jenkins alone under a spotlight with his acoustic guitar. In a surreal moment, a cool, whistling wind swept over the venue just as the lights dimmed and Jenkins spoke. Everyone was locked in on the singer as he put his raw, versatile vocals and genuine songwriting on display in two stripped-down songs.

Colin Creev (left) Kryz Reid (right) Photo Credit: @thatonemitchkid

Fans came for Third Eye Blind’s music, and they got it… a whole lot of it. The set didn’t contain much stage banter or storytelling, but it didn’t need to. When Jenkins spoke, he said the right thing. The band’s songs and rich history told all the stories one needed to hear. Locking eyes with Jenkins, watching a guitarist rip off a shirt, and feeling a sense of camaraderie as the band circled its drummer to jam out did more to connect fans to the performance than any words could.

Third Eye Blind brings a unique appeal and diverse crowd. I recall hearing the band’s late 90s hit play on my dad’s Pandora rock station growing up and now recognize them playing in the background of college kickbacks years later. Its aforementioned 2021 release indicates the band has no intention of stopping. Third Eye Blind preserved its roots on this record while dipping into new genres and topics, resulting in nostalgic yet fresh content. Additionally, an acoustic album of band classics entitled “Unplugged” was released in June 2022 and brings light to the band’s mature song subject matter and blunt lyrics that are often hidden by catchy melodies and charming delivery. I can attest that hearing these songs live puts them on another level.

Summer Gods Tour Poster Photo Credit: Dragon Force Records

Third Eye Blind continues its tour with several stops around the U.S. this July and August and is a must-see show if you have the chance.Meanwhile, Stir Concert Cove continues its summer concert series with big-name talent ranging from country pop superstar Sam Hunt to Grammy-winning R&B artist Leon Bridges and legendary rock band Foreigner slated to perform. The venue is easily accessible for eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa residents and, with options to bring a lawn chair and casually listen, be close to the stage in the pit, or listen while enjoying food and drinks on a deck outside Harrah’s Hotel and Casino, the atmosphere is unlike any other in the area.


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