I come to you, writing this begrudgingly. In part because I can usually find the good in everything. The trip to see Third Eye Blind in Philly was unforgettable, and I think I became closer to a new friend I’ve made. The show…was unforgettable, but not in a good way.
Let me start by saying that I had high expectations for this show. My friend Lindsey and I had seen them in 1998 and they were fantastic. They were a band of my first love, their self-titled album the soundtrack of my first boyfriend and me and our first experiences with young love. But that is not why they were incredible. The Third Eye Blind I knew in 1998 was high-energy, dynamic, creative, and wild. They never missed a beat, had a good report with the crowd and hit all the notes.
After standing outside the Electric Factory on a windy night for nearly two hours, we were finally let in. The venue itself gets a good report, except that it is in a sketchy part of town. It is a very cozy little place.
The opening band gets high remarks from me, and nothing but. The opener was called U.S. Royalty and, in their four-song set, rocked us out. The lead singer was reminiscent of a young Robert Plant, the music and energy like-wise, though, in their softer set, reminded me a bit of early Fleetwood Mac. You can learn more about them here: http://www.usroyaltymusic.com/
The only thing wrong with their performance was that it was not long enough, and that, of course, is determined by the tour manager! The entire show was worth it just to see these guys play. Enjoy this tidbit: http://youtu.be/1A3uHitdTwg
I wish I could say the same for my beloved Third Eye Blind. I own every single studio album, love every track, and can sing each one by heart. The memory of that 1998 show had me pumped up even as I stood with my friend Sara in the freezing December wind. The sound check even sounded promising.
Once inside, we secured pretty decent balcony seats, albeit, the only downfall was me getting pawed by a drunk married man who, during the show, took it upon his six-foot-seven ass to kneel on the five-foot bar stool so that he became 12 feet tall. This caused him to: a) obstruct the view of other concert-goers. b) come dangerously close to elbowing me in the face.
Also, take note: one does not mosh to Third Eye Blind. Jump up and down excitedly, back in 1998? Sure. There was no need for moshing that night. That did not stop the aforementioned man from trying to mosh between me and his wife, however. There was a severe lack of energy, enthusiasm, and sadly, skill. For whatever reason (I’d like to blame drugs), Jenkins was unable to hit the high notes, sounded burned out, and even said, “We were told to hold back tonight but we’re not holding anything back.” An elderly woman using a walker in a wind storm could hold back less than they did.
The show was a complete letdown, except for the opener. It felt like an old, small town high school reunion gone wrong, actually. Lovers were pawing each other, people were texting, and after four songs, I made an important decision: I was going to leave. Sara was obliging, and probably surprised. I never give up on anything. After four songs, I decided I’d rather be in a warm car, laughing with Sara about our hilarious and scary experiences in the city that day. By the time the bassist bombed his solo, we agreed to leave. As we turned to go, the drummer had a weird techno-breakdown set where some mechanical recording would, in hip-hop rhythm, spout, “Bass. High-hat. Tom. Tom.” The performance was so bad it was as if the techno voice was instructing them on how to play and what to play next. It was supposed to be his drum solo.
I wanted to cry, really. $100 tickets in the can and WAY more than that being haggled by some parking lot junkie who tried to high-jack my keys (I only wish I was kidding).
I will always love the recorded music of the albums I own, but I will never see them again live. “You can put the past away. I wish you would step back from that ledge, my friend. You could cut ties with all the lies that you’ve been livin’ in. And if you do not want to see me again, I would understand.”
I hope that you do, old rock friends of mine.
Be well and rock on,
P.S. I’d love to hear your sentiments about bad shows you’ve attended. Or absolutely phenomenal ones.