March 23, 2003
Bentley College (Waltham, MA)
Were you at this concert? (Please introduce yourself if you haven’t already.)
Opening up for one of your favorite bands of all time and having the entire crowd in there for your set doesn’t suck. Here is how it went down.
PFA arrives bright and early at Bentley, eager to capitalize on the catered lunch, per third eye blind’s catering menu rider. The band estimated that free food probably tastes about 30% better than the other kind of food. It turns out 3eb eats a lot of candy. Chris noted, “my teeth would totally be rotted out if I went on tour with them.”
The band’s dressing room was a racquetball court, which was sweet. Matt brought in a football and mayhem ensued. Luke read a magazine in the corner while Grub, Matt, Chris, and Nate (long time friend, drummer, comic relief, and drum tech for the day) made up stupid rules to a pointless game that was destined to end in broken fingers or a pulled groin hours before the biggest show of their lives. “No self-pass, that’s minus 1 point. Unless someone else touches it first, then you get plus 1 point,” Matt reasoned. Nate thought Matt’s rule was too immature, but the rule stuck. Grub noted that some adoring fans were watching the antics through the window, but it was just the security guards. If you’ve never punted a football inside a racquetball court, you’re really missing out. Gear that almost got destroyed by various triple-wall bounce passes with the football included: Luke’s backpacker acoustic, someone’s digital camera, Luke, and Matt’s Les Paul.
The venue was the Dana Center, which is an athletic center. It’s a 3,500 capacity triple basketball court, with lots of bleachers on the sides and back. Believe it or not the acoustics are decent, the ceiling has what looks like sound absorbing tiles, and has funny angles. Once dark and filled with smoke from a smoke machine, and the stage lighting turned on, it rocked.
3eb’s sound check was really an hour-long practice. They were running through some new tunes. Stephen (the singer) would be sitting on the edge of the drum riser and be like, “you have 16 bars from when the drums and bass come in to have that intro riff transform into the da-dada-da-dada-da riff in the verse. Ok, from the top.” PFA was just cold lamping at this point, taking it all in.
Now it was time for PFA’s sound check. The stage was about 5 feet high, 40 feet wide, 40 feet deep. Luke doubted Matt’s statement that a 25 foot guitar cable would give him a 50 foot span on stage. Luke underestimated Matt’s ability for quick math. Matt proudly strutted back and forth to either end of the stage while whipping his cable like Indiana Jones. He then agreed that it was probably more like 45 feet. Matt and Luke grabbed a couple 3eb guitar picks off the stage, the actual ones they used for their sound check. They each have their own picks with their names on them and a 3eb logo and everything.
It was around this time that 3eb’s tour manager noted to PFA that if PFA did well, they might be picked up for more shows with 3eb. No pressure, guys.
When 8 O’clock rolled around and Craig (concert chairperson at Bentley) introduced Playing for Audrey, the boys took the stage as full of confidence as they’ve ever been. The entire crowd of about 3000 was there already, packing the joint. The energy of the eager crowd quickly translated itself onto PFA, making the band’s job easy. All PFA had to do was what they love to do, totally wail hard, and they did. A lot of girls waved at Matt as he sang. After what felt like 30 seconds, they had 2 songs left. It had actually been about 34 minutes. During an instrumental interlude of one of the songs Matt trotted over to Luke and yelled with a big smile, “What’s up, bitch?” To which Luke said, “What?” “What’s up, bitch?” Matt yelled a little louder, slightly less smile. “What?” “Whaaaat’s uuuuup, bitch?” It turns out the whole time Luke thought Matt was yelling, “You’re off pitch!” During “Weary Eyes” Matt heard a big crash behind him and thought, “Hey that Chris sure is jumping around behind me.” Later on Grub told Matt that Chris had actually fallen down. PFA completed their mix of new songs, and songs from the full length (click here to see the setlist). By the end of the set it was clear that PFA had won over the crowd. The reaction was phenomenal. This was further evidenced by the number of CDs sold back at the merch table. Bentley knows how to rock, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. PFA thought Brandeis knew how to rock, but nobody rocks like Bentley.
Stephen Jenkins wouldn’t go on stage until Vanessa got there (Vanessa Carlton, pop singer, dating Stephen from 3eb. Why doesn’t anyone believe this is true? Yes, it’s true, they are dating, I swear). The Bentley staff was freaking out. It was so rock and roll. Some day PFA will make people freak out by doing things like that.
3rd Eye Blind rocked out a few new songs from their soon to be released album (the first of which was really good, chances are it’s the first single off the new album), and also mixed in some hits from albums 1 and 2, like “Jumper”, “How’s it gonna be”, “Never Let You Go”, and Grub’s personal favorite “Narcolepsy”, which had a long bridge that transformed into “I wanna be sedated” by the Ramones. Honestly, Narcolepsy is a much better tune the ramones song. Matt commented, “I hope they play Graduate.” Mike replied, “I saw the tour guy cross it off the set. I guess they were going to play it, but now they aren’t.” “That blows,” Matt retorted. All in all, they rocked extremely hard like everyone knew they would. Wailed you might even say.
Matt went through the backstage hallway to get beside the stage to watch a couple songs from there. At this point 3eb finished their regular set and came back into the hallway. They were sweaty. They were arguing over which song to do for an encore. Matt waited to see what would happen. Stephen kept saying “stay or go” (a Clash cover if memory serves), Tony was pushing for another song. Matt suggested, “play Graduate,” but it didn’t look like they were taking his advice. When they finally decided, they all pushed off the walls and sprung back to life down the hallway towards the door to the stage. Right when they get to the door a chant erupts in the crowd “..blah…blah…suck, blah…blah…suck” It was muffled and hard to tell what the crowd thought sucked from the back hallway. It sounded sort of like “you guys suck.” Stephen stopped in his tracks, “What? What the fuck is this bullshit? Fuck this!!” Then suddenly the crowd’s pronunciation improved and it became clear they were actually chanting, “Yankee’s Suck”. 3eb realized the chant didn’t have anything to do with them, and forged on to perform the encore, which did indeed start off with “Should I Stay or Should I Go” and also included “Semi-charmed Kinda Life.” The latter is the song when the girls in the crowd typically disrobe. Shirts were seen flying through the air onto the stage at this point, as expected.
This paragraph is dedicated to stopping this whole “Yankee’s Suck” thing. Yes, PFA hates them as much as the next Boston band, but let’s be honest, they don’t suck. They win a lot. If you’ve ever been to yankee stadium and had some New Yorkers chant “1918” at you, you’d realize what I mean. Maybe we could make the chant something like, “Yankee’s are jerks!” Or, “Yankee’s have the biggest TV market and therefore the highest salaries and that’s why they win, but it’s the result of a lousy baseball system – maybe they should run baseball more like football!”
After finishing up the autograph session, PFA loaded up and was outta there. Another mystery solved. Another day done. Until next time.