Last Thursday, the Verizon Wireless Coffee Shop Series brought Stephan Jenkins and his band home to perform at Memorial Auditorium. Third Eye Blind, the beloved ‘90s alt-rock group, delivered a killer show that transformed the palatial auditorium into a house of rock.
Jenkins worked through his signature concert moves, climbing on the amps, beating tambourines against his chest and toying with a tall fedora throughout the night, and his proud, high-energy performance style captivated the traditionally stiff Stanford crowd, bringing the whole house to its feet. Up front, students swarmed around the foot of the stage.
“Ah, springtime at Stanford University!” Jenkins called out at the end of the first song, before standing with his arms crossed, observing the audience coyly. “I am thoroughly, completely enjoying this right now. I grew up at Stanford University.”
“This is my home and, uh, when I was like 8 years old, we used to ride our bicycles over here, and I climbed to the top of that catwalk and peed off it,” Jenkins said with a smile. “So this place is literally a landmark for me.”
Connecting with the audience from Jenkins’ opening words, Third Eye Blind moved into a more solemn song, “Bruises,” before setting aside their electric guitars and clearing the stage for Jenkins and his acoustic guitar.
Introducing the next song, “1 in 10,” with a dash of humor, Jenkins began, “I fell deeply in love with this very dedicated lesbian.” The crowd laughed appreciatively. “And I got absolutely nowhere, and I wrote her this song.”
As the last acoustic chord of “1 in 10” died out, loud calls from the audience demanded the Third Eye Blind hit “Slow Motion.” Jenkins lowered his voice into the mic, “That was a really good-hearted song. This is a really bad-hearted song,” and began the dark ballad.
Jenkins noted an enthusiastic member of the crowd in the balcony who was wearing a Beat Cal shirt. “Well, my friends, I went to Cal,” Jenkins said, “yet I love you. Do you love me? ‘Cause I love you, there you go!” The crowd, hesitant at first, cheered as Jenkins grinned. “Let’s get away from red and blue.”
Jenkins then introduced guitarist Kryz Reid, who worked an impressive guitar solo as Jenkins ran off to grab two fistfuls of glowsticks. The lights shut off and Jenkins held the glowsticks over his head, cracking them slowly as their colored light burst in an arch. The band moved into “Monotov’s Private Opera,” and Jenkins threw the glowsticks out into the crowd one by one as he worked through the upbeat song, finally throwing the last bunch in one triumphant swoop.
Abruptly, the band left the stage, but the crowd remained, cheering, well aware that Third Eye Blind couldn’t leave without indulging their fans in their most famous hit.
Jenkins and the band re-emerged on the stage and kicked off their encore with “Water Landing.” The bassist Abe Millet, donning a scruffy beard and sneakers, rocked the penultimate song while drummer Brad Hargreaves continued to anchor the band from the back with his powerful, loud percussion.
Next came the first chord of “Never Let You Go,” begun as the entire auditorium cheered and sang along, smiling the whole way through.
The band closed their set with the powerful “God of Wine,” and Jenkins said that right after their performance, the band would be heading back to their studio in San Francisco to record their next album.
“When we finish that album, if you’ll have us, we’ll come back and play again,” Jenkins said. Here’s to hearing Third Eye Blind rock the house again soon.