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The Show 2006: In Review

Elizabeth Hesburgh and Mary Migliozzi | Monday, August 28, 2006

Third Eye Blind may not be as popular now as it was 10 years ago, but its former ’90s fame was enough to fill the Joyce Center Fieldhouse Friday night when the band performed exclusively for Notre Dame, St. Mary’s and Holy Cross students. Based in San Francisco, Third Eye Blind is made up of lead singer Stephan Jenkins, Kevin Cadogan on guitar, bassist Arion Salazar and former Counting Crows drummer Brad Hargreaves. As they came on stage and began the concert with one of their most fun and upbeat hit singles, “Never Let You Go,” a black banner unfurled behind them bearing the band’s name in large block letters. The students went wild, jumping, dancing and singing along.

A band that saw the height of its popularity in the late ’90s, Third Eye Blind wisely chose to play numerous songs from its self-titled 1997 debut album. This decision seemed to be greeted with approval by an audience that remembered the days when Third Eye Blind was essentially the soundtrack to summer.

The college age group proved to be the ideal audience for songs like “Jumper.” When the band played this well-known anti-suicide anthem, the crowd sang along not only to the vocal part, but also to the catchy and memorable guitar solo, which was extended to make the number perhaps the best in the show.

Newer songs, such as “Palm Reader,” from the 2003 album “Out of the Vein” – while certainly enjoyable, were met by a significantly less animated response, even bordering on boredom at times. Still, it proved a valuable and entertaining addition to a show that otherwise would have run the risk of being little more than a walk down memory lane.

The members of the band showed skill as experienced live performers, especially guitarist Tony Fredianelli, who delighted the crowd with his solos. Jenkins found the right balance in terms of crowd interaction, introducing and inviting audience reaction to some songs, but didn’t overdo it.

During one performance, Jenkins strode down the center aisle of the audience as students reached out to touch the famous rocker, giving the students in the far risers a closer look.

Guitarist Kevin Cadogan also once ventured down the aisle. Evidently, Cadogan had made a trip to the Notre Dame bookstore that day as he wore a t-shirt bearing an ND leprechaun throughout the performance, much to the delight and appreciation of the Notre Dame students.

One of the strengths of Third Eye Blind’s music comes from an ironic ability to effectively combine songs of greatly varying moods, and even to combine moods within a single song, as in the somber yet oddly buoyant “Jumper.”

The band certainly did this exceptionally well in its choices for Friday’s show, playing both the decidedly sorrowful “How’s It Going to Be” and the ecstatically upbeat “Semi-Charmed Life,” its most well-known song, right before leaving the stage at the end of the set. For an encore, it chose to again alter the mood with the pensive “Deep Inside of You,” from “Blue.”

True, Third Eye Blind has faded a bit from popular attention and the pop/rock music scene. Jenkins expressed his disappointment at one point in the concert that the band’s fans had not been showing the same support as they once did. Or the fact that its album in 2003 and its July released greatest hits album entitled, “A Collection” have not sold as well as it had hoped.

However, in closing, Jenkins told the crowd, “It’s great to come here and feel this warmth. It’s a really good feeling.”

This warmth was especially apparent as they played the final song, the hit from summer of 1997, “Semi-Charmed Life” which clearly received the wildest response of all the performances of the night.

At the end of the night, Third Eye Blind left a contented audience at The Show. Its performance contained a solid collection of a few new songs and mostly old songs that have not lost their effect on an audience that grew up to them.