My 3EB Night At The Chapel SF - 20 Years Down.
A concert experience is an exciting, fun filled occasion, usually surrounded by friends and maybe a few drinks. You catch a show for a myriad of reasons: you're a fan of the band, your friend had an extra ticket, it's something to do for the night, etc. This is the case for me when it comes to most concerts, it's usually a reason to have a great date night with my boyfriend or hang out with friends for just about any band.
A Third Eye Blind concert however, is so much more. It's personal and deep for me. It isn't about just going to catch a show, it's about reuniting with my family at the rails and nourishing my soul with every chord and every lyric. Feeling a warmth and a wholeness that cannot be found in any other facet of my life other than on the rails at a show. I come alive, so alive, at a Third Eye Blind show. However, the Chapel show (while no different) was also exceptionally unique. This feeling came out in how small the venue was and how intimate everyone got to be with the band. The band was more connected, not only to each other, but with the fans than I have ever seen them. How can I fully capture the magic of that night? How does one describe the air that fills their lungs or the water that quenches their thirst? That's how essential Third Eye Blind is to my existence. The lyrics that Stephan sang are in the fabric of my being, those melodies are the lullabies that calm the demons in my head. The anticipation for that show was electric and I knew it would be a memorable, but I truly could never have imagined how captivating that concert would be.
Even while outside, waiting in line with the rest of the die-hards, you could feel the love between these people who had only met because of this band and shared in the fervor of hearing their soundcheck. I heard “Red Star,” “Wounded,” “Narcolepsy, and others - even through a door their energy was electric, and not even the rain could dampen our spirits.
The first of the many gifts we would get from the band that night came in the form of pizza! There wasn't a single fan that didn't appreciate the gesture of the band sending out food for us, but I don't think any of us had in mind what else they had in store. The next gift, although purchase was required, was the special edition t-shirt they had for sale. They wanted to make sure we had something tangible to remember that iconic night. I, for one, was the first in line at the merch table, while my boyfriend and friends held my spot on the rails. Of course, the best was yet to come, and once the band took the stage I came alive and was fully captivated.
I had a perfect spot between Kryz Reid, guitar player extraordinaire, and Stephan Jenkins, lead singer and lyrical genius. I was in shock, they started off the set list with “Good For You” and I couldn't believe I was finally getting to hear this live. All the songs from their debut album that I had never gotten to hear live were coming to life right in front of me.
“Good For You” gave way to “Company of Strangers” and the mix of new and old was brilliant. They kicked off with a song from their early years, and then followed it up with a song from their last EP (We Are Drugs) brilliantly demonstrating their growth over the last twenty years. “Company of Strangers” was followed up by “Horror Show,” which was a real treat for the die-hards that were craving more than just the hits, and damn did they deliver! “Horror Show” gave way to “Queen of Daydreams” and I was in heaven. This is my personal favorite off of the We Are Drugs EP so I was simply overjoyed when SJ grabbed my hand during the song. Not only did I get the first hand grab of the show, but to one of my favorites nonetheless! During this song not only was I emotionally connected to it, but I was literally, physically, connected to him while he sang it which was overwhelming in the best way. I teared up, and had the first of many "is this really happening?" moments. The next seven songs on the set list were a brilliant execution in the mastering of their craft. They all played with their hearts on their sleeves, and the love for the fans, as well as the music, came across with every note. They put supreme effort into giving us an iconic show, and that came across loud and clear.
Perhaps the second biggest highlight of the night for me was hearing “The Background.” That is a song near and dear to my heart, that I had never been fortunate enough to hear live. SJ started off by saying "This is a song about $3 wine, and a really shitty market on Haight Street" and I instantly shivered. Those first few chords instantly sent tears streaming down my face. I flashed back to my high school days in the middle of our quad, listening to my first boyfriend playing the bass line.
I flashed forward to the pain of our break up, and all the ups and downs that would follow through the years, completely enraptured by SJ's voice. There was this incredible sensation of appreciation for my past and validation of my present and the choices I had made to get to where I am. Hearing that song was more than a check off the bucket list for me, it was a necessity. That song has always represented my first love and the pieces of my heart that broke apart. Vital pieces that didn't come to be the mosaic that they are now until many years later. Taking me down a path that led to the extraordinary man that I now share my life with, and who stands by my side at the rails for every show.
The highlight of that show, and really every show for me, is hearing “Motorcycle Drive By.” There's a lot of fans that can't pick a favorite song, or will tell you it varies depending on mood, season, events in their life, etc. Not for me though, for me it has always been, and will always be, this song. It is my go to song when I want to retreat into my emotions, when I want to recharge my soul, or restart my frame of mind. I am alive today because of that song, because of an emotional connection that transcends any realm of understanding. That song was my support system when I had none, it was the only constant that I had, and it's what got me through anything and everything. I cry every single time I hear that song live and I've heard it at least a dozen times. Not to mention that even after playing it thousands of times outside of shows, it still hits me every single time. That is why I go to Third Eye Blind shows - to feel that connection and energy, and in hopes of hearing that song just one more time.
After hearing “Motorcycle Drive By,” in addition to everything that came before it, in my eyes my night was made and couldn't get any better. Queue the next surprise from the band that would prove me so wrong. What was it you may ask? CAKE! They brought up a giant cake complete with 2-0 candles and the audience engaged in a hap hazard but beautiful rendition of Happy Birthday. How great that they ended the show with cake for their fans, right? That's the thing though, the concert didn't end! Not only did we get the most delicious chocolate cake I've ever had, we got to hear the gem that is “Alright Caroline.” I honestly can't say that even my wedding day will top that moment. Not only was I listening to my all time favorite band, in the most epic and tiny of venues, but I was now also eating chocolate cake while they played one of their rare gems! This concert is one that will live on long after the weeks and months come and go. It'll hold me over until the Summer Gods tour begins and I am on the rails with my family once again. You could say I've given a pretty full bodied review of the Chapel show.
I would argue I've only scratched the surface though because my love for this band and their concerts goes deeper than bones.