I’m going to deviate away from hip hop for a moment to pay homage to Third Eye Blind, the alternative rock band that achieved fame in the mid 1990s for hits like “Jumper,” and “Semi-Charmed Life.” My sister and I are huge fans of the band and practically grew up with them. It was their hits that caught our attention, but it was their lesser-known songs that captivated us and turned us into lifelong fans.
To this day, their self-titled album is very special to me. I’ve purchased it more than any other album (back in the days before MP3s when if you played a CD over and over again, you’d inevitably end up with a scratched, skipping disc). It’s one of those rare gems that you can listen to start to finish (all 14 songs) and love every song. It’s been there through every life stage from puberty to discovering my freedom to starting a family.
Up until this year, I had never had the opportunity to see the band live. A few years ago, I heard they were coming to Omaha to play a private show for Creighton students, so I reached out to some friends and was able to get my hands on some tickets, but was told they checked student IDs at the door and weren’t going to let me in.
But if everything happens for a reason, then this reason was so that I would attend their 2013 tour, which just so happened to be making a rare stop in the Midwest. My sister and I had a pact that if we ever saw 3eb, it would be together. I saw a Kansas City show on the list of stops, which is just a few hours from Omaha, and it came just in time for my sister’s birthday. I immediately grabbed four tickets (so our significant others could join) and surprised her.
Later they would add a date in Lincoln, just a 45-minute drive from home, but it gave us a good excuse for a road trip the day before Thanksgiving. And like I said, I believe everything happens for a reason.
And it was perfect.
Born in shadow. Made of lions. Loud as fuck.
The venue, the seats, the lights, the incredible energy, the phenomenal set list, the crowd interaction. The epic drum solo enhanced with electronic samples, the ambient guitar interlude, it was all we could ever hope for. It was intimate.
Talented songwriter and vocalist Stephan Jenkins promised veterans and virgins alike they were in for a night to remember. He encouraged us to meet our neighbors and spread a warm vibe throughout the venue. They played every single song on our wish list, including “Motorcycle Drive By,” “God of Wine,” “Narcolepsy,” “Wounded,” and “Faster;” and the list goes on and on.
And I can’t emphasize how cool it is when one of your favorite bands interacts with their fans the way Third Eye Blind does. They reply to tweets. (Like, a lot of them.) They use hashtags on Instagram to check out photos from the night before and favorite them (as a band and as individual members). They talk to the crowd at their shows, and you can tell they have a cult fan base by the way the entire crowd knows the words to every song, even the ones you wouldn’t expect.
It reminded me of a show from yesteryear—the days almost forgotten, when there was no ego, no bullshit, no over-produced Hollywood antics. Just music and memories. It was genuine and interactive and completely memorable. And isn’t that the way it should be?