June 25 was a picturesque night in Philadelphia. At a mild 75 degrees and only a few days after the summer solstice, the dusk, golden hour extended until after 9 p.m.
The perfect conditions set the scene for the Silversun Pickups and Third Eye Blind concert at Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing. Sitting on the water, while the sun set behind the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, an idyllic summer night unfolded.
Silversun Pickups performed music from their most recent album, “Better Nature,” released in 2015. Their set was mesmerizing and enigmatic, capturing the audience’s attention with Brian Aubert’s distinctive voice. While the majority of the set was from “Better Nature,”, the Californian indie rock band’s most recognizable hits “Lazy Eye” and “Panic Switch” stood out. Alluding to the headliner, they described Third Eye Blind as “amazing people” and described what a joy it has been to tour with them.
Emerging in an unconventional manner, Third Eye Blind started performing as silhouettes. A white sheet was hung, covering the entirety of the stage, and a backlight showed the band as shadows.
When the curtain came down, the landscape of the stage had changed entirely from the openers. A platform was added to the back of the stage, elevated high enough to necessitate a set of stairs connecting it to the main stage. The instruments sat on the platform while the band’s lead singer, Stephan Jenkins, moved throughout the entirety of the stage. He came out in a tuxedo jacket with LED-lit panels, but changed into a T-shirt after a few songs.
As the intro to “Semi-Charmed Life” began, so did the rise of the the band’s name behind the platform. Large “Third Eye Blind” vanity-lit letters now filled the back of the stage and beamed onto the audience. The lights of the letters turned on during the more hype songs, and would shut off and were replaced with mood lighting during their more mellow hits. This was the case when Jenkins performed “Jumper.” The lights dimmed, the letters shut off and a single spotlight shone onto Jenkins as he walked to the front of the stage. “Jumper” is undoubtedly the band’s most popular acoustic song, so when Jenkins was alone with the acoustic guitar in hand and asked the suspecting crowd, “are you ready for this?,” the crowd reciprocated with enthusiastic cheers.
This tour is in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the band’s first record. Jenkins spoke about the magic music has in bringing people together through a common interest. He encouraged the crowd to engage with one another: “I know you’re shy but these are your people! Find someone you don’t know and tell them to have a beautiful summer.”
Jenkins also continuously spoke about their appreciation to the dedicated fans’ 20 years of support, saying, “This is our version of a thank-you letter. We are only here for one reason. We’re here because our music has been kept alive, and it has nothing to do with us. It is solely to do with you guys.” The set was more than half an hour longer than anticipated.“Every night I feel different; we’re playing the whole album for the first time on the tour. This is about time we call it a night but [performing] feels good. I thought, it being Sunday, the energy would be down,” Jenkins explained.
Other especially memorable performances were “Never Let You Go,” “Shipboard Cook,” “Motorcycle Driveby” and “How’s it Going to Be.” Jenkins repeated the lyrics from “Shipboard Cook” over and over again, singing, “I lost myself and that’s why I lost you” and “I’ve never been so alone, and I’ve never been so alive” to emphasize the emotional connection he has with these songs.
The show ended with “Alright Caroline,” which was written when first record came out, and finally “God of Wine.” Jenkins last words were, “thank you for keeping our music alive.”
The show was a perfect concert for fans of all ages. Third Eye Blind sounded great and I was astounded by the energy and caliber of performance from a band on their 20th anniversary tour. It was truly an unforgettable night provided by a world-renowned band.