Third Eye Blind
Lincoln Theatre (outside), Raleigh
Saturday, May 10, 2013

Shortly into Third Eye Blind’s Saturday night set outside the Lincoln Theatre, frontman Stephan Jenkins explained that the band was only on the road for a few dates and, living by the 3EB ethos, weren’t afraid to show some imperfections. It was an odd comment—one of many from Jenkins during the set, actually—considering that the group’s previous album, Ursa Major, was notoriously delayed released more than six years after its predecessor. Their fifth and supposedly final album seems to be suffering the same fate, too.

But Third Eye Blind’s headlining set was indeed a little rough around the edges. Singles they’ve surely played hundreds of times occasionally came to an abrupt close; others, like “Never Let You Go,” started suddenly, sans familiar intro. Maybe they were more focused on the new record, which Jenkins promised they’d finish in the next couple of weeks. It’s more likely, however, that the misfires and variations stemmed from Jenkins’ latest band of hired guns. The newest iteration is the band’s first as a quintet and, alongside Jenkins, includes longtime drummer Brad Hargreaves as the only remaining member from the debut album. Guitarist Kryz Reid was lackluster compared to the bygone Tony Fredianelli and Kevin Cadogan. Alex Kopp spent nearly all his time on keys, mostly imperceptible except during the new songs.

Speaking of the new ones, let’s hope Third Eye Blind has more than a couple weeks to work out the kinks. The latest numbers were mostly unmemorable, at least for the reasons Jenkins may have hoped: He broke into an unfortunate spoken-word passage during the plodding “Back To Zero,” while the segue from “Dopamine (All I Want)” into “With or Without You” only emphasized the former’s generic U2 riff. The three unreleased cuts—full of anthemic aspirations, but not actual hooks—fell flat for the outside crowd.

But no one is seeing Third Eye Blind in 2014 to hear much besides the hits, and on that front, they mostly delivered. Nearly half the set consisted of tunes from the band’s breakout debut, with fan favorites “Wounded” and “Slow Motion” supplementing singles from Blue (“Never Let You Go”) and Out of the Vein (“Crystal Baller”). The crowd mostly included folks who would have been between middle school and college when “Semi-Charmed Life” and “Jumper” dominated the airwaves. For others, the songs must seem now like classic rock. They screamed the lyrics toward the stage just the same.

Given the university commencement ceremonies held throughout the Triangle during the weekend, “Graduate” went over particularly well. It perhaps best exemplified the band’s nostalgic value, too. Even as Jenkins nears 50 and most of 3EB’s longtime fans are firmly entrenched in adulthood, the upbeat number provided a welcome flashback to when getting your “punk ass off the street” seemed more identifiable than returning to the nine-to-five on Monday morning.

Sure, Third Eye Blind’s newest songs, at least as is and on stage, may be misses, but few in the crowd Saturday night seemed to care about another half-decade wait, so long as the band will still play the hits that conjure so many memories.