Stone Temple Pilots, the classic rock band, continued their 2012 tour with a sold out crowd at the on Monday night. They started the night off with the song “Sin” from their first album, Core which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. With 6 albums and over 70 songs in their catalogue to choose from, STP leaned on their old faithful hits, sprinkling in a few fan favorites and deep cuts.
STP are in their twenty fourth year together as a band and their lasting power is in the songs. Some are anthems, some are poppy, all are undeniably catchy, with a combination of great melodies, hooks, riffs and a certain mystique.
Dipping between hits and fan favorites, the band’s energy remained consistent throughout the show.
The crowd was composed of the usual suspects you’d expect to see at an STP show, but their vibe was very different. Just as STP has grown older so have their fans. The crowd cheered throughout the show, between songs chanting “STP” “STP” as if they were calling back their youth, yelling for a band that they were grateful to have back. As focused as the crowd was on the band, the band was as focused on their instruments. There’s a certain seriousness and newfound maturity in each of the band members.
Scott Weiland ever the chameleon is back to his role as a rock n’ roll frontman, after dabbling this winter in a totally different incarnation as a 1930s Christmas crooner for his solo Christmas album. Tonight he was in rock star shape looking healthy and rakish in a shirt and tie, vest combo, two belts stacked on top of each other, and a pair of shiny black shoes. Robert DeLeo, bass guitarist, Dean DeLeo, lead guitarist, and Eric Kretz, drummer, have stayed consistent throughout the years each staying to their designated side of the stage plowing through songs and pounding through their instruments like the pros they are.
Scot Weiland sounded clear, fresh and strong throughout the show as his voice switched between throaty howl peppered with cigarette smoke, to soft falsetto. He’d interject vibrato on the end of a line, or “hoo” like a hovering owl during guitar solos between verses.
While the DeLeos were firmly planted in place for most of the show, and obviously drummers don’t dance, Weiland was constantly in motion. His sinewy frame, languidly glided across the stage, knees pulsing to the beat. He’d rise up on the platform with feather light steps and joltingly jump down to the stage on the beat of Eric Kretz’s drum pound like in the chorus reprise of the song “Plush”.
Adding variety to the set list, and taking the coveted spots of some of STP’s hits like “ Creep” and “Down” were the two songs “Hollywood Bitch” and “Black Again”, from STP’s fifth album, Shang gri La dee da, a mis-marketed and highly underrated album which unfortunately fell through the commercial cracks. “Hollywood Bitch” is a poppy rock song abut a familiar rock n’ roll heiress. “Black Again”, is a melodic and melancholic song about comforting your lover from a black cloud hovering over their head (like something out of Charlie Brown). It was a special treat for the diehard fans who can recite any of STPs albums backwards and forwards. Unfortunately the album No.4 wasn’t represented at this show, but with so many hits that have to be played, some songs are reasonably cut. Fortunately, the lesser known songs seemed to go over well with the crowd.
The band’s jamming, between and at the end of songs, broke up the set and made you wonder where they were going next. It was great to see a band of this level, just jam.
All crowds love a good sing-a-long and STP’s anthems lend themselves well. Every STP song has a memorable chorus with a hook and a catchy strange lyric that’s nonsense and complete sense at the same time. No one can deny the strength of the lyric “I am smelling like a rose that somebody gave me on their birthday deathbed.” I am smelling like a rose that somebody gave me cause I’m dead and bloated”. The best rock hits you where it hurts, and makes you confront your emotions whether or not you want to.
What’s interesting about STP is they seem to be more themselves than the they were when they began. When you strip away all the mythology, themes, and subtext surrounding the band, what’s left are classic rock n’ roll songs and 4 exceptional musicians. They seem confident and settled into their identity and less self conscious. STP are now purely about musicianship. Now more than ever, STP can be seen as one of the last great rock bands in the classic sense of the genre.
This is a band who’s legacy are great songs for every emotion. After years of speculation of where they’d go, and would it last, it’s comforting to see the band that’s been together for 24 years still at it.