Do you remember Third Eye Blind? They had 4-5 hits in the late 90s, songs you would have heard on the radio at the time. Last night the band played the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The concert was for charity but the sponsor, the Recording Industry Association of America, connected the event to a GOP event that was happening down the street. The result was a lot of GOP convention attendees showing up to hear the band. The band apparently decided this was an opportunity to troll (punish) the crowd by lecturing them and by refusing to play most of their best known songs. From Rolling Stone:
Third Eye Blind trolled an audience filled with Republican National Convention attendees during a charity concert at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Tuesday night, with singer Stephan Jenkins continually blasting the GOP and antagonizing the crowd with remarks like, “Raise your hand if you believe in science.”…
The one Nineties hit Third Eye Blind did play was “Jumper,” a song inspired by the suicide of Jenkins’ gay friend. The singer prefaced the performance by telling the crowd, “To love this song is to take into your heart the message and to actually have the feeling to arrive and move forward and not live your life in fear [not] imposing that fear on other people.”
Here’s that moment:
— Tina (@tinpant) July 20, 2016
So the band did play one of it’s best known songs to end the show. They didn’t play 3-4 others the crowd might have recognized.
The trolling is being celebrated by all of the usual suspects. While trolls agitate they never convince anyone to switch sides. Anyway, are there really that many anti-gay 20-somethings at the RNC? Even the NY Times has written that Donald Trump is pretty accepting of gay rights, certainly more than some of his former rivals:
It is his views on gay rights and gay people that most distinguish Mr. Trump from previous Republican standard-bearers. He has nurtured long friendships with gay people, employed gay workers in prominent positions, and moved with ease in industries where gays have long exerted influence, like entertainment.
“He will be the most gay-friendly Republican nominee for president ever,” said Gregory T. Angelo, the president of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group that supports gay rights.
The point was obviously to get in people’s faces and try to irritate them rather than find common ground or persuade them. How easily could they have won over this crowd by saying a kind word about Trump’s general attitude of support for gay rights. Instead, the crowd could sense the band mostly wanted to piss them off, so they reacted with boos instead of applause:
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) July 20, 2016
You get the impression that this band was thinking more about the headlines they could generate with this stunt than anything else. Mission accomplished, I guess.