Drawing on 18 years of experience, Stone Temple Pilots remain the riotous grunge bad boys and continue to deliver on the promise of a Grammy award winning act. That much seemed obvious last night, when the San Diego quartet rocked a sold out crowd at Chicago’s Riviera Theater. The venue sweltered with excitement… and rightfully so. Only days prior to the concert, the band kick started its dusty hype machine, dropping its first single in nearly a decade, which finds itself on the group’s forthcoming sixth studio album, due out May 25th. Don’t let the years dissuade you. They may be fresh off a nine year hiatus (give or take a year of recent touring), but the band proved this is less a reunion and moreover the next chapter in STP’s history. Get ready for quite a page turner, folks. Frontman Scott Weiland, bassist Robert DeLeo, guitarist and brother Dean DeLeo, and drummer Eric Kretz not only look healthy and at their prime, but sound it, too.
Chicago had little trouble believing in the rock show. Despite his age (believe it or not, it hasn’t been the ’90s in quite some time), Weiland proved he could still win over an audience and personified the image of a modern rock star, complete with sunglasses, while strutting and slinking across the edge of the stage. He’s quite athletic, too. At times, he bounded atop the speakers and enticed the crowd to sing along, announcing that it was great to be in a beautiful city with a beautiful crowd. Prospective concertgoers shouldn’t worry about his vocal range, either. Weiland came off both vibrant and smooth — enveloped by Dean LeLeos fretwork — and he frequently employed his trademark megaphone to provide added distortion and complexity.
While their self-titled debut is highly anticipated and much of it represented in the set (“Between the Lines” ignites on-stage), it’s the hits fans begged and salivated for — and that’s just what they received. STP dipped heavily into their catalog and knocked out the songs that brought them fame and acclaim. They managed to put together an eclectic set that worked wonders in terms of variety. Their powerful renditions of Vaseline, Interstate Love Song, Wicked Garden, and The Big Empty were complemented nicely by down tempo songs like Sour Girl and Creep. And while these all brought screams and renewed adoration (probably a relief for the boys), it was radio-favorite Plush that invigorated the throng of fans.
Though theyve been locked up in the studio for the past year or so, last night’s performance demonstrated the group’s caliber and genuine dexterity. In fact, you wouldn’t know they ever left the scene. The way they perform and interact, there’s no doubt that they were meant to be together. (Velvet Revolver? Army of Anyone? C’mon!) What’s more, the audience never turned their backs on them! While there were clearly fans that wore their scars of the ’90s, there was also a fair amount of supporters from a newer, more youthful generation. But that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise; after all, rock ‘n’ roll applies to everyone and always will. And though many years have elapsed since the band left the scene in 2001 with Shangri-La Dee Da, Stone Temple Pilots continue to rock with a recognizable sound that should enchant and entice generations from yesterday, today, and hell, judging from its recent material, the future, as well.
Let’s hope this success brings ’em back to the Second City again and again.
Between the Lines
Interstate Love Song
Sex Type Thing
Dead and Bloated
Piece of Pie
Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart