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Third Eye Blind, Ben Kweller rock W&M crowd

  • Charter Day concert
    Charter Day concert  Third Eye Blind headlined this year's Charter Day concert on Saturday. Ben Kweller also performed as the opening act.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Charter Day concert
    Charter Day concert  Approximately 4,000 students, faculty, staff and community members attended the event in Kaplan Arena.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Charter Day concert
    Charter Day concert  Students enjoyed such popular songs as "Jumper" and "Semi-Charmed Life."  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Charter Day concert
    Charter Day concert  Students take a photo together during the concert.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Charter Day concert
    Charter Day concert  Students enjoy the performance.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Charter Day concert
    Charter Day concert  Third Eye Blind's lead singer Stephan Jenkins engaged the crowd and even paused the concert at one point to take a photo of the audience.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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“I can just feel the energy in here tonight, I can hear all of you,” Stephan Jenkins, lead singer of Third Eye Blind said, fluttering his fingers in the air as if they were tingling while an electrified crowd roared back in William & Mary Hall’s Kaplan Arena this weekend.

In the same arena where the William & Mary community had united to commemorate Charter Day and watch former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates ’65 be invested as the College’s 24th chancellor, students, faculty, staff and community members danced and cheered to Ben Kweller and Third Eye Blind Saturday night, capping off the College’s 319th Charter Day celebration.

{{youtube:medium|JRP6O9gkT8Q, Scenes from the Charter Day concert}}

“[It was great] getting to see lots of students singing all the same songs,” said Bailey Kielarowski ’13. “There was definitely good energy when one of their hit songs would come and everybody would be singing along to it.”

Third Eye Blind’s concert had been announced to much excitement during the Yule Log Ceremony last December, and students rushed to reserve tickets online as soon as they were made available in January. Members of the class of 2012 who had donated to the senior class gift could also enter a raffle to win one of ten backstage passes to meet the band.

Throngs of students braved the rain to get to the concert Saturday night, packing the floor and filling the seats all the way up to the rafters.

“Everyone was there and super excited,” said Stephanie Gamache ’12.

Kweller’s band opened the concert, playing tracks from their new album, to be released the next Tuesday.

“I hadn’t heard of him before, but I thought it was pretty good,” said Julie Myers ’12.

He also performed songs from his older albums, including “Penny on the Train Track,” for which the music video, featuring Kweller’s grandmother dancing, had been circulated throughout the student body in the weeks leading up to the concert.

“Kweller prepped our ears for the main event,” Janice Van ’12 said. “Kweller was like a bread basket, while Third Eye Blind was the rib-eye steak.”

The tantalized crowd waited, breaking out into a chant as they waited for Third Eye Blind. Finally, the lights dimmed and then a blast of lights and sound brought 4,000 people to their feet.

“Third Eye Blind definitely knew how to work a crowd,” Van said. “Stephan Jenkins had it going on -- the charisma, the stage presence, the angsty scarf. And the crowd rose to the band's energy, singing, dancing, clapping at every opportunity. Third Eye Blind made us feel special.”

Jenkins seemed to bask in the energy of the crowd.

“At one point, they turned on all the lights so he could see everyone who was there,” Gamache said. “I thought it was so cool when he started taking pictures [of us].”

When the band lulled the audience with their slower songs, students swayed while waving cellphones and lighters. Then, the band pumped in energy with their hit songs such as “Graduate” and “Jumper.”

“My favorite part was the drum solo in the middle of ‘Jumper,’” said Myers, referring to drummer Brad Hargreaves’ nearly five-minute performance.

The band left the stage rather abruptly at one point, bidding everyone farewell.

“I know my friend thought it was over, and I said ‘No, we just have to clap a lot and work for it,’” said Myers. 

And the crowd did work for it, clapping and chanting “encore” until the band came back on stage with “Semi-Charmed life,” one of their biggest hits.

“Hands down, my highlight of the concert, and arguably my college career, was experiencing Semi-Charmed Life in concert,” Van said.

At the end of the night, though, most people seemed to have one thing on their mind as they made their way out of the arena.

As Gamache put it, “We should have more concerts like that.”