Then, finally, Weiland and his bandmates appeared on stage and with some gusto. At first, Weiland, whose career has been highlighted by drug problems and strange behavior, seemed subdued in his coat, tie, sunglasses and funny shoes, opening the show with a relatively slow song, “Big Empty.” But when the opening to the second song of the show, “Wicked Garden,” kicked in, the lead singer of the band that had its heyday nearly 15 years ago began dancing around the stage like someone lit a fuse in his backside. The show then seemed to catch fire – both metaphorically and literally, at least on the giant screen behind the stage. If the band was late, perhaps it was because stage hands were winding Weiland’s springs as tight as they could to maximize his on-stage bounce.
By the third song, “Big Bang Baby,” the band was being backed by intense video accompaniment of flames, electrical storms and kaleidoscope color swirls. If the audio overload wasn’t enough, the visual addition had the ability to intensify the rock ‘n’ roll show experience or add to sensory overload. Either way, it was an entertaining spectacle.
Familiar songs always get the crowd pumped, as was the case when the group started in to play the former No. 1 hit “Vasoline” before giving Weiland a chance to slow down by playing “Lady Picture Show” and “Lounge Fly,” a song that started with hard-driving riffs interrupted by a psychedelic interlude. By the next song, “Crackerman,” Weiland was sweating from the exertion while car chase clips from the movie “Bullitt” flashed behind him.
Four of the group’s biggest songs, “Creep,” “Interstate Love Song,” “Plush” and “Sex Type Thing” had the group really going toward the end of the show, but the last song, “Sin,” would have been better suited for earlier in the set. The aforementioned quartet of familiar songs would have been a much better conclusion. The encore would have also been improved by flipping the order of the songs “Dead and Bloated” and “Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart.”
Though the band is talking about producing some new music, going to see STP perform is supposed to kind of a flashback to their catchy rock hits of yesteryear – they delivered that and the audience appreciated it. The music sounded good and if there were any shortcomings in Weiland’s vocals the loud music more than masked them.
Between Weiland’s energy, the video stimulation and the deafening music, the Stone Temple Pilots delivered an entertaining show. If someone were to ask me after the fact if I’d pay $75 to see it, the answer would be ‘no.’ Sell it to me for maybe $50 and the answer might be different, but the ticket price was a little steep. Otherwise, it was fun to rock out like I was in high school again.