Basket Balls and Castle Walls

Third Eye Blind played to a very small, intimate crowd at Millersville University in Pennsylvania on April 27, 2017.

Courtesy Charity Bixler

Courtesy Charity Bixler

This was not just any run of the mill Third Eye Blind concert.

Charity tells us how this concert showed her how Third Eye Blind continues to add to their fan base and popularity at each and every show. 

Friday, April 27th I headed to what would be my 7th Third Eye Blind show with my best friend and fellow 3EB junkie at my side. We discussed after the show that this had also been our 3rd 3EB concert in 8 months! It was a good feeling.

To get to the show we wound our way through the back roads of South Central, PA to arrive at Millersville University.  We were both interested to see what this show would be like; it was at a college and we wondered if the crowd would be the overzealous 3EB fans we were used to seeing at shows. What we found at the show was not anything we could have predicted.

We parked for free in a mostly empty parking lot, much different from the Philly shows we’re used to! There were a few other people headed towards what we assumed was the venue so we followed, but it turned out they knew about as much about Millersville as we did, which was not much. Finding the door into the show felt like being a rat in a maze even after asking for directions (although we were not the only ones that had gotten lost along the way).

We finally found the door and were ushered through metal detectors and over to a card table where college student was hand digging through will call tickets (yes they had real paper tickets, and programs too!) for those of us who had bought tickets online. Once we were given our tickets, we entered into the gym where the show was to take place. I’ve been to a couple smaller shows in theaters, another college show, and even one at a casino that was fairly small, but this was completely different. It was like a high school dance... but there was a band and less dancing. A basketball net hovered over the stage and groups of teenagers hung out in the back and along the sides of the room. There was even a table set up with large thermal water containers where you could get a drink of water in a plastic cup!

We quickly found seats on folding chairs that were set up towards the back of the room. We sat down to wait for the opening act to start and do some people watching to see if we could gauge the crowd. There were a few other people in the seats who, like us, seemed to be waiting for 3EB.

The opening act was a group called “The Wonder Years” and who were from Philly and it seemed like they drew a decent crowd. The bass player was even a Millersville alumni, although he said the campus had changed a lot since he had been a student. Their music had more of a punk pop feel to it, which I enjoyed even though I didn’t know any of their songs. The people who had come to see them got a good show, and the energy during their performance got me pumped to see 3EB again!

As the opening act came to a close more and more people wearing 3EB gear appeared, mixed in with students and others who had come dressed to celebrate the 90's. Lots of acid washed high-waisted jeans, Doc Martian’s and belly shirts set the mood for 3EB to take the stage.  As soon as “The Wonder Years” finished we moved as far forward as people would let us. It was close quarters but we got within 10 ft. of the stage and we were set!

When 3EB took the stage, the crowd swelled and SJ emerged in all black, hood up, crooning the words to “Losing A Whole Year”.

Courtesy Charity Bixler

Courtesy Charity Bixler

At this point, at a typically 3EB show, everyone would be singing along, the energy in the crowd would be electric and the band would be set on fire for the duration of the set. When I took a moment to survey the crowd, it became apparent that many of the people I was crammed up against did not know “Losing A Whole Year”, nor did they know “Faster”, or “Narcolepsy”, and then things started to get weird.

The electricity that typically fills the air at a 3EB concert had trouble materializing, and SJ was getting visibly frustrated with the feel of the crowd. You could tell there were pockets of hardcore fans because he kept gravitating towards certain spots as he sang. Of course, to me, “Wounded” was epic as always, but when they followed up with “Never Let You Go” the crowd finally lit up. This is when we got a classic SJ speech about what it’s like to be part of the 3EB family, but this time it was different. This time he asked everyone to just let it happen, responding to the resistance of the crowd, asking those who had never seen them before to “have the courage to come up out of yourselves” and become a part of 3EB forever. It was, of course, met by the cheers of those of us who have been to that place with them before and when he declared he was a “motherfucking magic man”, we all knew he it was true.

After “Never Let You Go” and “Graduate” a lot of the younger crowd got a little lost on “Company of Strangers” and “Back to Zero”, but “Slow Motion” blew the minds of some of the newbies, which was pretty cool. To watch so many people experience that song for the first time all at once and live! Ah! Crazy!

About this time, my friend and I had migrated closer to a couple who were singing along to every word like we were (I think “Company of Strangers” is when we found them) and the guy of the couple and I were basically doing all the same dance moves at the same time, you know, air guitar, fist pumping and the like. It was pretty crazy to see someone react in the same way that I do physically to live 3EB music! My friend also confirmed this after the show, I wasn’t sure I hadn’t imagined it. We talked before the encore and he was disappointed when they hadn’t played “God of Wine", and unfortunately, he was left hanging this time. I, on the other hand, was happy to hear “Crystal Baller” which, as some of you know, was the recessional at my wedding.

Courtesy Charity Bixler

Courtesy Charity Bixler

The show ended too early as they always do, and we headed out with the crowd. I had very little voice left and was sad to not see a merchandise table (I really wanted that mermaid tank!), but overall it was a great night, as different as it was. Sometimes it’s amazing to see something that feels second nature to you, being born in people experiencing it for the first time. This show definitely left a lasting impression on some of the first timers in attendance, like a girl in front of us whose friends dissipated during the show, but by the end she was singing along just a loud as me.