Saturday night, Miami's Bayfront Park Amphitheater hosted an evening of returns and homecomings. Third Eye Blind was back in the South Florida area for the first time since 2013 for its co-headlining tour with Dashboard Confessional. Speaking of which, Chris Carrabba and his old bandmates reunited on stage after a six year hiatus from the Dashboard Confessional moniker. Unfortunately, also making an appearance was summer's rainy season. Although summer doesn't officially begin until June 21st, those in attendance would testify otherwise. Still, even Mother Nature's wrath couldn't dampen the spirits of those who have quite literally waited years to see one or both of these bands.
And hell if she didn't try her damnedest.
The original opener for the show was Augustana, another outfit coming together again after some time apart, but it had to cancel after drummer Jake Owen was struck by lightning. Owen spent the night in the hospital and thankfully should be okay. In Augustana's place was Miami based indie rockers KIDS, who just released their debut LP, Rich Coast, in January. Described as a meeting of Young the Giant and Mumford & Sons, KIDS filled in nicely, especially with such short notice. Its set was an absorbing blend of boisterous folk pop and rich, soothing rock harmonies. The group was a bright spot on what could have otherwise been a shitty night.
Taking the stage immediately after, under a light drizzle, was Dashboard Confessional. While many continued to take shelter underneath the amphitheater's rear walkway, lead singer Chris Carrabba teased the crowd about their inability to brave typical Florida weather. Eventually, the masses came forward and before long, a throng of dedicated fans were belting out emo hits like “Screaming Infidelities,” “Saints and Sailors,” and “Stolen.”
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For Carrabba, a Boca Raton native, it was a particular treat as his mother and many, many friends filled the seats. He was clearly jacked to be performing again in front of a home crowd. He excitedly joked with the audience throughout, his banter touching upon how many push-ups he did to get ready for the show and how taking six years off from a job is terrible career advice. Dashboard ended its set with “Hands Down,” a song about the best day ever – a sentiment many longtime fans, even in their soggy clothes, shared at that moment.
By the time Third Eye Blind came on, the rain had finally subsided and all that was left to endure was the theatrics of frontman Stephen Jenkins and company. Clad in opaque and elaborate lighting, Jenkins sang the opening two songs, including the 1998 hit single, “Graduate,” with his face shrouded in darkness. It was around “Blinded (When I See You)” that he emerged from the shadows – much like his band has done in recent years. Specifically, the band has emerged from the shadows of the '90's alt-rock scene and solidified itself as a perennial draw wherever it performs. They owe their success to a clever combination of pleasing their fans and placating their own desires as musicians. While the peak of their career came during Third Eye Blind's first three records, they continue to write and release new material. In fact the band will drop their fifth studio effort, Dopamine, on June 16th, a record that includes the single “Everything is Easy” and a cover of Beyoncé's “Mine,” both of which they played Saturday night.
For a few hours, Miami remembered why they sometimes hate the same weather that allows us to go to the beach in December. But more importantly, they remembered why they love bands like Dashboard Confessional and Third Eye Blind: they move us from the inside out the way no gust of wind or bolt of lightning ever could.