Concerts Concerts New and Nostalgia with Third Eye Blind

New and Nostalgia with Third Eye Blind

Third Eye Blind at Echo Beach
Third Eye Blind
Morgan Cameron Ross
Echo Beach in Toronto, ON
July 28, 2011

Review by: Lisa Truong
Photos by: Pete Nema

A subdued but devoted crowd helped Third Eye Blind rock out at Toronto's newest outdoor venue, Echo Beach.

Third Eye Blind

When Third Eye Blind was in Toronto earlier this year, Stephan Jenkins (vocals) said, "If you will have us Toronto, we will return." Fans obviously were counting the days as they packed Echo Beach for a free show as part of Ontario Place's 40th Anniversary Concert Series.

Situated on the East Island of Ontario Place, Echo Beach is a combination of the beach and the city — beach lovers brought their blankets and relaxed on the sandpit, city lovers hung out on the asphalt surrounding it. By the time the sun set, it was standing-room only and the once lake-breeze cooled crowd turned hot and sweaty.

Taking a break from recording their new album, Third Eye Blind emerged onto the sparsely decorated stage, opening with a personal favourite, "Motorcycle Drive By". The crowd exploded into cheers and sang along boisterously. Awkward pauses between songs were almost non-existent as instrumental fillers merged one song into another seamlessly.

However, though anticipation was high for Third Eye Blind to take the stage, the crowd and the performance were subdued compared to their show earlier this year. Perhaps it was the mix of hard-core fans along with those who only knew the classics, or perhaps the crowd sensed Jenkins' conservative presence on stage.

Jenkins quickly explained his calmness — this was the band's first show since he came out of the hospital after a bike accident left him with fractured ribs. "I need your help to rock out," he implored, "because there's a giant bottle of Vicodin backstage… and I can't play on drugs. My abs hurt like a motherfucker... help me forget it."

Despite his request for the crowd to jump and scream on his behalf, it was the songs from their debut album that garnered the most energy from an otherwise tame crowd. The highlight of the evening occurred near the end when the band broke into "Jumper." The crowd erupted into a frenzy of excitement — a sea of arms shot up; girls suddenly popped up on shoulders; a field of cameras and phones eagerly captured the moment; and most electrifying was the choir of voices singing along. The band obviously fed off the energy as bassist Abe Millett bounced to the edge of the stage and Kryz Reid released a wailing solo on the guitar. Heads shook and bobbed as drummer Brad Hargreaves sent the song's familiar rhythm through the crowd. Jenkins was back to his familiar stage persona — bouncing and screaming, his injury clearly forgotten. The energy continued through to the final song of the proper set, "Monotov's Private Opera", where Jenkins artfully tossed glow sticks into the crowd.

Though some of the crowd dissipated by the time of the encore, the same excitement that exploded during "Jumper" reemerged with "Semi-Charmed Life", as the crowd knew every lyric, pause and scream. Nostalgia combined with the general buzz that comes with a concert crowd further fuelled the band's high-energy performance. The final song was "God of Wine", which was a perfect end to a hot, sweaty evening under the stars. What started as a calm show ended with a brilliant high.

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Morgan Cameron Ross

Morgan Cameron Ross opened the evening with his collection of quirky themed folk-pop rock. With a solo self-titled album recently released, the Birds of Wales lead singer charmed the crowd with songs about love and loss along with brief stories and quips. "Are you excited to see Third Eye Blind?" he asked several times throughout his set in an attempt to rouse the quiet crowd. "Me too!" he responded.

The energy picked up after his performance of "I'll Hold Onto Your Heart" featuring another guitarist whose raspy voice melded well with Ross' smooth vocals. His newest single, "My Brother Went To Prison" was dedicated to his open-minded mother, for which he had to create a censored and uncensored version of his music video.

The audience were gradually charmed and grew accustomed to his folk-rock sprinkled with country twang. Ross ended the set with "Let It Go", enticing enough of the crowd to sing along with him in the chorus. Though I had not heard of him before this night, with subsequent research, I did recognize his video with the adorable puppy and perhaps some of the new fans he won over will too.