Third Eye Blind & Vertical Horizon @ The Greek Theatre, LA 08/24/00

I was a little embarrassed to write this review (given I can’t deny that I once really liked this band). But then I thought about my life at this point, about school, friends, family, and fondly thought about where my love and I were at this point. I had to complete this write-up from the best of memory, to serve as a snap shot of the Fall of 2000.  She had a copy of 3EB’s debut. She would play it on her Sony while we hung out.  I bought my own copy of 3EB’s debut and really got into it. I liked how infectious the music was. Not too soft, not too heavy…catchy, and you couldn’t help but sing along to those sweet choruses and hum those guitar lines. My favorite tracks off that CD were “Jumper,” “The Background” and “God of Wine.” It was the sentimental tracks that I really enjoyed I think. I had bought a copy of BLUE when it was released, “Never Let You Go” had sold me, and continued that 3EB styled power pop. A year after Blue’s release the band would still be touring. I bought tickets for this Greek performance and was pretty psyched about going. Even better, Vertical Horizon would be one of two openers. We also had copies of Vertical Horizon’s Everything You Want CD, and those tracks were just as sweet (if not sweeter) than the best 3EB songs. What a great combo, I figured we would be in for a great treat. We arrived at the Greek and sat ourselves somewhere in the mid section, stage right.

Nine Days was the first group to go on. Their set lasted around 30 minutes and it ended with their hit “Absolutely (Story of a Girl).” They were a very fitting opener and matched the stylings of Third Eye Blind and Vertical Horizon. I hate when off the wall mismatches occur on tours, but this combination worked well. Vertical Horizon went on and delivered an excellent performance. They were seasoned musicians and their songs were very well crafted. They were an alt-rock band that reminded me of REM, but with greater musicianship and without the jangle-pop. My eyes immediately went to drummer Ed Toth. His playing caught my ears, he was doing some pretty sick stuff on that drum kit. It was an expansive drum kit as well, that also got my attention. He laid down his parts like a virtuoso drummer and make it look easy. Where did this guy come from? Later I would find out that he recorded with an early incarnation of The Dave Matthews Band. No wonder…I have to say that Ed Toth is right up there with the likes of Carter Beauford. The rest of the group was just as tight, and singer Matt Scannell was very impressive, singing his lines while performing rhythm as well as lead guitar work. VH’s set was powerful. It was poppy alt-rock but it hit the audience hard. The sound quality was great, crystal clear with a perfect mix. Their playing was just as great, without any technical or performance related issues. And what cemented my adoration for this band was when the group segued into RUSH’s “Spirit of Radio” near the end of their set. “Whoa…they like AND can play RUSH,” is what I thought to myself. It was a very entertaining and triumphant set. Highlights for me included “You’re a God,” the rockin’ “We Are,” “Best I Ever Had,” and of course “Everything You Want.” We definitely wanted to see these guys again.
Vertical Horizon’s set:

Finding Me
All of You
You’re a God
Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning)
Shackled
Send It Up
Everything You Want
We Are/Spirit of Radio (Rush)

After a generous and tasty set by Vertical Horizon, finally Third Eye Blind’s set began. I was so disappointed. Vertical Horizon rocked us. But 3EB could barely touch them and almost whimpered in comparison. It was a very standard performance, sort of ‘by the numbers’ and unremarkable. The songs did not translate as well in a live setting. When I say that I mean they were decent renditions, however most of the songs lost that ‘pop’ and polished quality that’s found on record. Stephen and co. did a fair job performing but 3EB wasn’t the most engaging group onstage. It was easy to become distracted by other stimuli like the other fans, especially the 2 latinas behind us and to the right that wouldn’t shut the fuck up during a handful of the songs. Luckily they left before the show ended. But even with the absence of their obnoxious conversation and inappropriately placed woo-hoos, the band continued to lack something onstage: charisma. Every few songs, bassist Arion Salazar would travel to the wings of the stage and play to the fans on stage right/left, but other than that, there wasn’t a whole lot of instances of band “interaction.” Jenkins sang ok (as well as he did on record) and he performed his guitar parts without any obvious mess-ups. But he didn’t draw me in or do anything very noteworthy onstage. His ‘front-man’ abilities were lacking. I can’t even recall him addressing the crowd or doing any memorable stage banter. The front-man should make the fan ‘get off.’ I didn’t get off. Brad Hargreaves was confined to the back of the stage and laid down his drum parts without any problems. Their guitar player executed his parts well and switched to keyboards for one song…and that’s about it. And I didn’t know it at the time, but the guitarist onstage was not founding member Kevin Cadogan, but a replacement: Tony Fredianelli. Unbeknownst to me and probably much of the crowd, Cadogan (who was co-writer of many of 3EB’s hits) was fired from the group in January 2000. He subsequently sued Jenkins for wrongful termination and breach of contract. That suit was settled in 2002. And ever since then, success has eluded 3EB and Jenkins had to contend with several other lawsuits (by former managers, and replacement guitarist T. Fredianelli as well). I’d wager to say that Jenkins LOST more money due to record company debts and lawsuits than what was ever earned by record and ticket sales. At any rate, this was a very average show. It’s funny, the big standout/highlight that I have committed to memory was when the group transitioned into a few bars of Led Zeppelin’s “The Ocean.” Sadly, that was the most memorable part of their set for me. Disappointingly, my absolute favorite 3EB song, “God of Wine,” was not performed this night. But at least Vertical Horizon left a great impression on us and outplayed 3EB, hands down.
3EB’s set was something like the following:

Anything
Thanks A Lot
10 Days Late
Wounded
Never Let You Go
Narcolepsy
Jumper
The Red Summer Sun
Slow Motion
Losing a Whole Year
How’s It Going To Be
The Background
1000 Julys
I Want You
Motorcycle Drive By
Semi-Charmed Life
__________________
Deep Inside of You
Graduate/The Ocean (Led Zeppelin)

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Posted on March 3, 2013, in Concerts: 1998-2004, Third Eye Blind, Vertical Horizon. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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