Third Eye Blind celebrate 26 Semi-Charmed Years at The Palace

It is hard to believe that it has been 26 years since the release of Third Eye Blind’s monster debut album. That self-titled release was ubiquitous in 1997.  Lead single “Semi-Charmed Life” was everywhere, from the Norm Macdonald film “Dirty Work” to the closing scene of the classic teen sex comedy “American Pie.”  For people of a certain age (myself) this record was the soundtrack to college. There were many drunken sing-alongs to singles “Graduate” and “How’s It Going to Be.” It was only fitting that I ran into a couple of college friends that I haven’t seen since the last Clinton administration.

The San Francisco based band made their way to the Palace Theatre in Albany on Tuesday night.  There was no opening act.  3EB instead played a career spanning set of twenty-seven songs drawn from all seven of their major label releases. This was a show for the fans. Not the casual fans mind you.  They played deep cuts, saving most of their well-known hits for later in the set.  However, the nearly sold out audience seemed to know every word to every song.

Lead singer and guitarist Stephan Jenkins emerged onto a fog filled stage atop a backlit riser. The band kicked into the opening notes of “Can You Take Me” off of 2009’s Ursa Major.  Almost completely engulfed in fog, Jenkins let the music and the impressive light show take over.  It wasn’t until later in the set that he made his way down to the main part of the stage.  The light show was stellar, with multi-colored laser beams cutting a swath through the fog.

Halfway through the show the band made their way to the front of the stage. Stools were brought out and they performed an eight song acoustic set. “Back to Zero” segued into a quick cover of the 1985 Outfield classic “Your Love.”

The second set was where most of the well-known songs resided.  They opened the second set with “Motorcycle Drive-By” followed in quick succession by “Never Let You Go,” “Losing a Whole Year,” “Jumper” and the ear-worm that is “Semi-Charmed Life.”  They returned for a one song encore. It was like 1998 in Plattsburgh all over again as nearly 3,000 fans joined Jenkins and crew for a sing-along of “How’s It Going to Be.”

Jenkins sounds as fresh today as he did when the band started. The band has had plenty of turnover since they formed. The current iteration of 3EB includes guitarist Kryz Reid, drummer Brad Hargreaves, bassist Alex LeCavalier and multi-instrumentalist Colin Creev.  The songs sounded note for note perfect. Fans of the band left satisfied, while casual fans left as even bigger fans than they were when the show started.

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