Eye Blind Hits the Road with
Backstage Pass Special
by Debbie Seagle
me on the Rock N World tour bus today is a new passenger, my cohort
from Rock N World's sister web site antiMUSIC - antiGUY.
Now that my guitar and other valuables are safely locked away in my bunk
and I have hidden all the decent snack foods, magazine and toilet paper
for my own consumption later, I sit patiently, waiting for the next stop
. . . As antiGUY mumbles and franticly rummages through the
cupboards underneath the sofa, our driver takes us to the deepest, darkest
concrete jungles of Los Angeles - a buffet of music genres and styles.
Today we are going to sample the menu on Third Eye Blind's "Dragons
& Astronauts" tour. Later, I will be taking you behind the scenes
to meet one of the cooks, ah, band members, Arion Salazar.
The last place
on earth I want to be on a Friday night is at a show for a band best known
for singing songs with "doot doot doot" as the most memorable line. The
only reason I agreed to Debbie's request to tag along with her was the
fact that Tonic, one of my favorite rock bands, is opening the show.
Since I had never seen Tonic live before and Debbie takes every
opportunity to remind me she has, I thought what the heck, I can put up
with 90 minutes of music from a chick band.
I haven't eaten
all day, Debbie hid all the junk food, and the only place to eat near the
venue is Denny's. Debbie, tell me where those oreos are damn it!
well, we were very glad to talk with old friends Tonic and their
set was killer, as usual. But what I was really interested in was seeing
Eye Blind, whose new CD "Blue" has just been certified platinum
and whose recent separation from lead guitarist and co-song writer Kevin
Cadogan caused them to remain in the music headlines for weeks. Since
I have to say that I really enjoyed Blue, and find it rocks harder and
tighter than their first, self titled CD, I wondered if Third Eye Blind
would sound the same without their guitarist, or if their stage performance
had suffered because of the change.
Is antiGUY allowed
to be wrong? You guys decide. I will tell you I was dead wrong about 3EB.
I never gave them a chance before because I figured they were one step
removed from Chumbawumba or Hootie and the Blow Fish. Much to my surprise
once I gave "Blue" an honest listen I had to admit these guys do write
some damn good music and they are not just another superficial pop band
filling the billboard charts with chick music.
short, Third Eye Blind's live performance went beyond the solid
rock tunes of the Blue CD. The band added a dimension (or
two) to the digital version of their music on the CD by adding the elements
of light, color and movement - lots of movement! If Alice were to
step through the looking glass into the Rock N World, I imagine she would
see something like this. Stages draped in cloth and jungle vines,
giant dragons with glowing red eyes and a monstrous lighting rig, hung
from the ceiling in a round carousel that lowered and tilted to mimic the
landing scene in the movie Close Encounters. Most of the time the stage
was lit in continuously changing patterns of purple and blue with stark
white light beaming through the pieces of Brad Hargreaves' drum kit and
shooting up from below the risers when ever the band would stand on one
of them, creating a dramatic silhouette effect.
And what would Wonderland
be like without a Mad Hatter? Enter Stephan Jenkins, lead singer
and snappy dresser, singing "Losing a Whole Year" while hanging
over the balcony of this old art deco theatre in his tuxedo t-shirt and
top hat! He struts, he runs, jumps, uses the mic stand as a pretend
machine gun and chats amiably with the audience like he was throwing a
party for several thousand neighbors and friends. As he felt encouraged
by the audience reactions he fed their attentions with quips like "People
want to know if we've changed. I know, you're saying 'You guys haven't
changed, you're still dirty, dirty, filthy, filthy pigs!'"
set list was a good mix of tunes from both of their CDs and included favorites
like "Graduate," "Never Let You Go," their upcoming single
"10 Days Late," "Semi-Charmed Life" and "Jumper,"
which I understand is actually being used in a teen suicide prevention
program that is being piloted in high schools across the USA. Also
performed were three songs off the new CD that I found to be instant stand
outs. "Wounded," is a song which possesses an interesting
combination of tempos and hooks, an almost anthemic feel at times, and
showcases an outstanding vocal range on Stephan's part. "Deep
Inside of You" is a ballad that Jenkins described as a "great big bummer
of a song," but it is a credit to the song's lyrics when its story unfolds
and you see the meaning of the title change from literal to figurative
as the teller's heart breaks. Lest we get depressed (everyone needs
a sad song now and then), the third song I picked as a stand out is "1000
Julys." I predict that teen guitar star wannabes will be practicing
its catching power chords over and over again. I know I transcribed
them the next day and ripped them off a few times, just for fun.
As a matter of fact, I believe I even saw antiGUY tapping his foot during
this song. Of course, he still had his arms folded in front of his
chest, trying hard not to let on that he was getting into their groove.
All photos taken by Debbie
Seagle - Copyright © 2000 Grove Quest Productions. All rights reserved.