“A true face only says one thing….” began Stephan Jenkins, frontman for Third Eye Blind. “It says ‘fuck yeah’!”
The celebrated alternative rock band performed at the Arlington Theatre downtown on the evening of April 7th, the band’s latest stop on a tour supporting their fifth studio album, 2015’s Dopamine. The band arrived right on schedule amidst brilliant, flashing lights that initially avoided giving any one member of the band more attention than the others during the new song “Everything is Easy.”
It was just after they performed their hit 1999 single “Never Let You Go” that Jenkins capitalized on the opportunity to inspire the crowd with some touching words. “I’ve been going to sleep at night dreaming about this moment. Right now, here’s what is great about this place: I can see every single one of you, right here, right now,” he said.
As the band worked their way through a two-hour set, they played a steady mix of new and old favorites. Their most impressive facet must have been their ability to make older hits — like “Graduate,” and “Jumper” — sound brand new, and alternately make their new songs — like “Dopamine,” “All These Things,” and “Something in You” — sound like classic hits.
Jenkins and company also took the opportunity throughout the set to pay homage to various other musical acts. Early on, they filled a brief respite in “Dopamine” with an interlude of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” Later, they did the same with U2’s “With or Without You,” and they even performed a solid cover of Beyonce’s “Mine.”
The most endearing homage, however, was a three-song medley of David Bowie’s “Young Americans,” “Heroes,” and “Modern Love.” The band’s appreciation for the late Ziggy Stardust goes even deeper, as Jenkins explained that a lot of the music on their latest album Dopamine was inspired by Bowie. “Dopamine was kind of like a thank-you letter. The overarching message throughout Bowie’s music was that deep down we are a bunch of peculiar motherfuckers. The music provides the space for us to find each other,” he said.
It was wildly obvious that Jenkins and the rest of the band were focused on connecting with the audience throughout the show, a goal that they absolutely achieved. And when the lights came on after an explosive encore performance of their hit “Semi-Charmed Life,” there was no denying that Third Eye Blind had accomplished and created something special
“We don’t take this for granted. None of this is lost on us. We’ve never gotten a Grammy, we’ve never been on the cover a big magazine, because that’s not us. What we have is you guys. Thank you!” exclaimed Jenkins. “We love coming to Santa Barbara — we’ll come back anytime you guys want.”