HOB.comChicago Review 12/31/00


12-30
Where do I start? OK, so I'll start with the San Francisco airport. It never fails, each time I travel to see 3eb I am always overcome with issues. This time, my flight was delayed 4.5 hours for mechanical reasons. I went on the airport and begged for them to put me on another flight. After telling them I had 30 people waiting at the hotel to check into rooms under my name for a big Third Eye Blind fan club meeting, they decided to put me on a different airline (United) so I would get to Chicago in time for everyone to check in (it was really only 5 people, but hey...) So I finally get into Chicago around 7pm and check into the hotel. A woman named Danette, who was staying with me, was already there and so I settled into the room with my 5 tons of luggage (it's a girl thing) and then we went down to the hotel restaurant to eat. We were staying at the House of Blues hotel which was right next door to the venue. CHICAGO WAS FREEZING.
So Danette, my boyfriend and I order dinner and drinks. We're sipping on Cosmos and wine when in walks Brad and his girlfriend (who's an absolute doll - more on her later) and sit 2 tables away. I had no idea that the band was staying in the same hotel as us, but looking back it makes sense that they were since it was all the House of Blues. A few minutes later I recognize a bunch of 3eb crew sitting a few tables down and then a few minutes after that Arion sits down with them. At this point, we're eating dinner and I just want to get out of the restaurant because I had a huge fear that it may appear I was trailing the band. So we hurried and left shortly thereafter. We walked down to Michigan Avenue which is like *the place* to go in Chicago for shopping. I could barely walk in the snow because like I am from Alabama and we just don't get snow. Plus I was freezing in my thin leather jacket. Talk about unprepared. So I wussed out and flagged a cab to head back to the hotel. We went to the lobby bar and continued consuming alcoholic beverages for quite a few hours. At one point, I glanced towards the lobby because I camera was flashing and there was Stephan taking pictures with some fans. Even though he was far away I could tell from his demeanor that it was him. I opted to stay in the bar and enjoy the live band playing (and my cosmo) rather than run out to chat with Stephan. Why? Well, it all goes back to my fear of being seen in close proximity to the band's place of rest. It's just a courtesy thing. Plus, I figured I'd get to chat with them all after the show the next night. A little while later I met up with some other fans - Sgnt Chris, Donnie Osmond look alike Chris, Amanda and another girl who's name I forget. I had met them all in Chicago back in May at the 3eb Fan Gathering so it was since to visit with them again. So a few drinks later, the bar was closing down. It was 1am and I was really tired from 2 days of airplanes (I won't go into my Christmas nightmare with Delta) so we called it a night and went to bed. 
12-31 and 1-1
The next day we endured more drama, as Michele's plane was snowed in and she didn't think she would be able to come. Big problem - the tickets were all under her name. Well, she finally sweet talked her airline into changing her flight so she could get there. Danette, my boyfriend and I went to lunch at this place called Gino's that has all this fabulous graffiti on the walls and ate pizza. We then went shopping and I ended up at Victoria's Secret doing the thing I do best - spend money. We soon went back to the hotel and Dee arrived from San Francisco - HOMETOWN GIRLS GOT MUCH 3EB LOVE! A few hours later it was time to start getting ready. Being that it was New Years Eve, I wanted to get dressed up and really put forth an effort to look nice, so I spent a long time primping and dealing with my fro. Michelle finally made it in around 7pm and we continued getting ready. The hotel was being really strict about the number of people per room so we were having to play it cool and not make much noise. The room was $229 a night, so we all were piling in 1 room to save money. (Even though I'm 24, my mom always is freaked out that I stay in hotels with people I've met on the internet, but 3eb people are FOLK. Homies. It's like chill mom.) 

Soon thereafter, my cell phone started ringing off the hook. Jim, another guest in our room, called and was in the lobby. Liz (who runs a phat 3eb site, www.semicharmedsite.com) didn't want to wait outside in the cold, so she came up and hung out in our room. We were crammed in the room like sardines, so half went down to the lobby bar to hang out. 
So the time finally came to go to the show. We got our tickets and Danette had managed to score VIP bracelets so we could go to this VIP room and hang out as we pleased. Danette, Dee, Michele and I went on up to the VIP room and sipped $10 drinks and chatted with some security guards about how to get back and forth from the floor where the band would play and the VIP room. Little did I know that the security guard, Jeff, would end up saving me from an ass whopping later on - I'll get to that. 

So we finally decided it was time to cram into the pit. I was wearing these cute Nine West sandals that had sparkles on them (NEVER AGAIN) and I was frightened at the floor situation. It was 900 degrees in the pit as we moseyed our way to the second row. After we finally settled in, I was harassed by men on both sides of me for not having been in the pit all night. One dood was being an asshole about having enough room for his girlfriend to stand when she returned from the pottie and the other thought I was pushing him. So I kindly explained that it was general admission and that it was every man for himself. They didn't care. So a few minutes later I'm trying to make buddies with the guy to my left that thought I was pushing him by saying "so, you a fan of 3eb?" He says to me, "if you push me one more time you'll fucking find out!" and he was going to kick my ass! He was really drunk so I was like *leaves pit.* The crappy thing is they weren't harassing the others with me. I guess I have "please be mean to me" tattooed on my forehead. So I went back up to the VIP room and hung out. Jeff, the security guard, saw me alone in a sea of people and asked why I wasn't with my friends, so I told him the whole story. He was madder than hell! He told me to go to the security guard in the pit and tell him that Jeff sent me and while I was walking down he would call on the walkie talkie and let them know what was going on so they could give the guy a warning. So I followed instructions and the nice security man in the pit, Johnny, escorted me back to the second row and pulled the jerk out and gave him a warning to not mess with me. I was like WOOHOO. Before 3eb started the guy ended up getting kicked out (and his girlfriend, too) because he started a fight with someone else. I was glad - there's just no sense in fighting on new years eve, or ever in that case.
Liz and I broke out our Sony MiniDisk recorders and Sgnt Chris said we looked like reporters from CNN. I was amazed at how many internet fans I was surrounded by from all over the country. It was so awesome. 

So finally at 11:50pm 3eb came on. They started with NLYG, which was a shocker. After that song, it was time to ring in the New Year and Stephan demanded that a girl in the front row be brought onstage. At midnight he leaned her back into a FULL ON kiss! You could tell that girl was freaking out. She stayed on stage and hugged the other guys for a while. Arion doused us all in champagne from the stage. It was SO AWESOME. And all the balloons were falling from the ceiling and Stephan was throwing confetti. They launched into Thanks A Lot and it was on. The show was amazing. After the third song I was forced out of the pit because my toes had be crushed to the point I needed them amputated. I was really upset that I couldn't manage to keep myself in the second row. So I scooted off to the far right of the 4th row and carried out in that spot for the remainder of the show. 3eb played a cover of "Dancing With Myself" and it was RAD. The guys were all really full of energy and it was a great show. Stephan started yelling "that's right I'm singing about masturbation!" haha He loves the subject of masturbation I swear. YOU KNOW YOU DO IT! lol

Chicago 12/31/00 Set List

01. Never let You Go
02. Countdown to 2001 
03. Thanks A Lot
04. Losing A Whole Year
05. Anything
06. Ten Days Late
07. Narcolepsy
08. I Want You
09. How's It Gonna Be
10. 1000 Julys
11. Jumper
12. Motorcycle Drive By
13. Semi-Charmed Life
14. Dancing With Myself (cover)
15. Graduate
16. God of Wine


So after the show, we decided we would go back up to the VIP room because they said it wouldn't close until 2pm. We didn't have backstage passes or anything, so we figured there wasn't a chance we would see the band unless it was later at the hotel or something. I had my shoes off and looked something sorry sitting in a huge chair about to die because my feet were just dead. About 10 minutes later Michele looked up and saw the band filing into the room. We were like OH MY GAWD!!!!! Very excited. So they all took off towards the band and I was like WAIT I HAVE TO PUT MY SHOES ON. No way, jo-z, they were outtie. By the time I got my shoes on and crawled over, Michele was already snapping pics with the band. I went up to Stephan and tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around and was like HEY and gave me a big hug and kiss on the cheek. He said "come here, I want to tell you something." I was concerned with sitting down haha. So, Stephan continues and tells me a most wonderful story that I want to share with all of you. I'm going to just type everything he told me as I remember. Here goes:
Per Stephan...
"Jen, I wanted to tell you about a kid I met. Third Eye Blind, we do a lot of things for the Make A Wish foundation and this 13 year old kid named Graham met us all at a meet and greet. This kid was autistic and non-verbal (doesn't talk) and I've worked with autistic children in the past so I knew what to expect. You know in my videos I make puppet hand signs with my hands sometimes, well that's why. So this kids parents told me that Graham had a strong connection to our music and that we were his favorite band so I go up to this kid and he grabs my mouth like this (Stephan grabs his own mouth) and I smile. And he felt my smile, my reaction, because I knew from working with autistic children that things like that happen. And he felt my smile. So I talked with the parents and took pictures with the kid and hung out for a while and then it was time to go. So I said "bye" and the kid says "bye-bye" and waves. The kid TALKED! So his parents were freaking out because like the kid has never talked and it's just this huge emotional moment in my life. So afterwards, I'm just crying because of what's happened and how special it was and I had to tell you this because, Jen, it's because of you and what you do. Because see that kids parents wrote to me through your site when you let fans send me stuff for my birthday and I just want to thank you. Jen, thank you for what you do, seriously. I really appreciate it. And that wouldn't have happened if... And I just wanted to tell you that because it was so special to me, so THANK YOU."

1/22 update:  Graham's sister read this review and was very overwhelmed at how touched Stephan was from meeting Graham.  She sent me this picture of them:


This whole time I'm like near tears because I could tell how moved Stephan was and I felt this deep appreciation for all my hard work on my site that's truly a hobby for me but has obviously made impacts in some form or fashion for fellow fans. I was speechless and didn't know how to recover from the moment *I* was experiencing at that point. I've never seen Stephan so open. It was then that I thanked myself for realizing the opportunity to return a favor back to the band who has impacted my life over the past few years with music that speaks my language and feelings. So many of 3eb' songs are autobiographical for myself and the things I have gone through. Third Eye Blind truly deserves to have homage paid to them, if it's through a web site or fan mail or support of a song - they deserve it. They are all humble artists.

OK, so. Whew, this is getting long so I'll wrap it up. So Stephan introduces me to other friends that are with him and "oh you're Jen stephanjenkins.com Jen!" haha Yep, that's me. So I chit-chatted with some other fans and made my way over to greet the other band members, starting with Arion. Arion was an absolute DOLL that night. He had on this fuzzy pink sweater that I wanted to rub because it looked so soft so I did. I told Arion that i wanted a picture with him because I have only a couple of the 2 of us. He obliged. I also told that I had a bunch of Christmas cards for the guys from fans in the hotel room and that I needed to give them to him. (He got them at the hotel much later, so the guys now have all the cards that were sent in through my site.) 
I made my way over to Michele and Dee who were chatting with Brad and girlfriend, Gina.  She introduced herself and I did the same and she was like "give me a hug! it's so nice to meet you!"  She was SOOOOOO NICE!  And beautiful, too!  She asked me if she could take a picture of Brad
and me and I was like sure!  So we took a picture and I chatted with the 2 of them.  I told Brad how he whacked me in the head a few weeks back at the Fillmore and he apologized.  I was like IT'S OK!  He was concerned whether or not I at least caught the stick and I assured him that I did, but that I had to stick it down my pants to keep people from trying to steal it.  haha  He was amused by that.  So we all talked some more (mostly Gina - what a sweetie) and then said bye.  
We all went over to talk with Tony and were introduced to his beautiful wife, Christy.  Michele talked to them both about her site and things and I just kind of was hanging out when Stephan came back to me and asked if I had a good time at the show.  I was like ABSOLUTELY and told him I loved the cover of Billy Idol.  He asked if they sounded ok because they only rehearsed it twice and I was like it was awesome.  He said "where did you go because I saw you in the front at the start of the show and you just disappeared and I didn't see you again."  I was like oh I was there and then explained to him my situation with the feet and then told him how I was threatened in the pit.  He said "you just tell people like that THIS IS MYYYY HOUSE!"  haha  He's right!  And then the security guard, Jeff, walked by and I introduced him to Stephan as the man who saved my life and Stephan shook his hand and said "what's you name?" and Jeff told him, and Stephan said, "I told her to just tell people like that that THIS IS MY HOUSE" and then thanked him for taking care of the jerk.  Jeff looked quite honored to be thanked by a rock star and I was pleased.  I talked to Stephan some more about a bunch of ideas I have in my head that are too soon to talk about to you guys, but I will if anything comes from the talk.  
After hanging out for what seemed like forever, but was really less than 2 hours with the band, I felt the hotel bed calling to me to come hither.  So I returned to each band member to say bye and left a few roommates behind to hang out and headed back to the hotel across the parking lot.  The chill outdoors woke me up for a bit, but once at the hotel I sat down on the bed and never got back up.  The next morning it was all over and we all packed up to head home.
I had a wonderful time and met so many amazing fellow fans. You all know who you are.  

I don't think I'll ever have a New Years Eve more memorable than this one.  We out.  xoxo Jen

"Do you live the days you go through?" 

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