Third Eye Blind and Taking Back Sunday Bring Sunshine and Nostalgia to Mystic Lake


Two of my worlds collided on Friday night. You all can probably tell that I am a pop-punk princess through and through and, after my review of The Modern English show the other day, you probably caught wind that I will always have a soft spot for 90s music. Hence, seeing a giant from both of these scenes on the same stage on Friday led to a fantastic night and perfect way to kick off the holiday weekend.

Australian surf-rock band Hockey Dad was the only opening act for this massive co-headlining tour. Personally, I loved being able to see this band live. Their sound was perfect for the sunshine and light breeze on this mid-summer Friday at the beautiful Mystic Lake Casino & Hotel Amphitheater on Friday night. Up against a few giants on the line-up, I loved that Hockey Dad didn’t sacrifice anything to try to cater to the audience but, looking around, the demographic was all over the place. Although people didn’t seem overly into the music, people were clearly listening or at least hearing what Hockey Dad was putting out there and although I don’t think their sound was big enough to really catch people’s attention, I do think they did a great job of bringing something fresh to the line-up.

Following the quick opening set from Hockey Dad was a personal favorite of mine and every other emo kid from the early 2000s, Taking Back Sunday. Where to begin with this band. They are kind of like The Maine for me. They have grown up with me and as they continue to put music out, I feel like it continues to speak to my soul. Friday night was literally close to my fiftieth time catching these guys live and, although I will never say no to seeing them, I fear their set just felt a bit stale to me. Vocalist Adam Lazarra was up to his usual stunts like swinging the microphone cord around his neck and adding the same little embellishments into his songs that he always does. Don’t get me wrong, I loved watching it while singing along to every single word with one of my best friends by my side but even she mentioned something about the stale performance. If it weren’t for the nostalgia factor that comes with this band, I probably wouldn’t have many nice things to say but, when it comes down to it, this band means so much to me and a whole generation and they can seriously do no wrong.

Closing out the beautiful festival-feeling show was Third Eye Blind. I grew up in the 90s and remember going to the pool with my mom during the summer and hearing the radio blaring throughout the pool. That will forever be dubbed “Holiday Pool Music” (the pool name was Holiday Pool– shout out to West Des Moines, Iowa!) and Third Eye Blind the quintessential Holiday Pool Music band. I’ll be honest, other than their self-titled debut album from 1997, I know very little about this band but I will never miss a chance to see them live just due to the nostalgia factor and the fact that they are one of those bands that performs so well that it really doesn’t matter if you know the music or not.

Third Eye Blind’s set on Friday night was beyond perfect. My favorite hits were scattered throughout the set that was filled with music spanning this band’s impressive career. Although I absolutely loved singing along to those summer songs that I remember from back in the day, it was Third Eye Blind’s cover of “Disorder” by Joy Division that really got me. It makes sense stylistically but I honestly just thought they were going to rely on playing their hits with a few new tracks thrown in there. Hearing that cover was a good reminder of just how versatile this band is and how, even though I was there to hear just a few specific songs, this band has never stopped doing what they do so well and continues to evolve through the years. I honestly have spent zero time with their 2021 album, ‘Our Bande Apart’, but after seeing them on Friday, I think I may take some time and check it out. This band is so much more than just a 90s one-hit-wonder band and it was a nice reminder to see that on stage.

Although it’s already July, I feel like the show on Friday was a reminder that it is finally summer. The festival-like atmosphere that Mystic Lake Casino pulls off so flawlessly for their amphitheater shows was just the icing on the cake when it came to the perfection of Friday night. I can not stress how great shows at this casino are whether inside or outside. Sure, me winning a bit at the slots both before and after the show was a bit of a plus but, seriously, their events are always just run so well and smoothly. From security to getting drinks to the bathroom situation– there was no other place I would have rather seen this show.