Stone Temple Pilots
Controversy-courting vocalist Scott Weiland's performances have been called everything from “bedraggled and bushed” (The New York Times) to erratic (www.livedaily.com) since reuniting with Stone Temple Pilots in May for a 65-date reunion tour.
Fortunately, there was no hint of the inner band turmoil or poor performance Sunday at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre.
There was speculation as fans waited an hour and 20 minutes after opener Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's eardrum-busting 45-minute set of blistering dark British rock and surprising shots of gospel and country blues. By 9:30 p.m. rumors circulated that STP's bus had only just arrived, while fans debated Weiland's sobriety.
Three minutes later, the group hit the stage to the slow bluesy grooves of “Big Empty,” a favorite from 1994's “The Crow” soundtrack.
The sing-a-longs kept coming with the low-end riffs of “Wicked Garden” and “Big Bang Baby” as psychedelic images rolled on three screens that flanked the stage.
Weiland must have sensed it would be a good night. “What a wonderful audience,” he said early on. “I can feel it already.”
He prowled the stage in jeans, a leather vest, and scarves, his voice impeccably sustaining long notes amid a slightly muddy sound mix (at least near the front of the stage). Channeling Jim Morrison and Mick Jagger, he wriggled and danced in circles. He leaned back to back with bassist Robert DeLeo and appeared to conjure a solo from guitarist Dean DeLeo with outstretched arms.
The band scored on most of its hits from “Vasoline” to “Lady Picture Show” to “Sour Girl.” But it was its earliest radio staples, “Creep” and the Grammy winning “Plush” played 40 minutes into the set that had grown men hugging and belting the lyrics.
Weiland stepped off the stage and walked down front, smiling as he sang “Interstate Love Song” with the fans in the general admission section at the front of the stage.
The group wound its set to a close with its longtime show stopper “Sex Type Thing.” Weiland finally started to grow a bit hoarse as he yelled through his megaphone. “Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart” ended the regular set, and the band returned (this time with Weiland draped in a poncho and fedora) reaching back to 1992's “Dead and Bloated,” the lead track off its first album. As the crowd cheered, Weiland, the DeLeos, and drummer Eric Kretz gathered at the front of the stage – all smiles at the resounding chants of “STP.”