The Stone Temple Pilots commanded the Brandt Centre with unbridled enthusiasm & “psychedelic flair” just a couple weeks ago, in Regina. Although it was only a half-arena show (3,000 to 4,000 in attendance), the crowd response was POWERFUL beyond belief, as was the music on stage. These California rockers were highly criticized, during the nineties, for their “copy-cat” grunge style…grumblings that the band sounded too much like Nirvana or Pearl Jam. Today, they still have that “crunchy & distorted” sound, but you’ll hear elements of blues, jazz, & other pop-rock components intertwined…giving the group its eclectic form that CANNOT be reproduced. The members (Robert DeLeo – 43, Dean DeLeo – 48, Eric Kretz – 43, & Scott Weiland – 42) joined forces on a North American tour this past July — a highly anticipated reunion, since the band’s break-up in 2003. STP has proven, once again, that they still have the ability to enthrall fans with thick riffs, tight hooks, & an almost magical show.
The immense LED screen made the stage environment intoxicating to watch, showcasing everything from a highway to outer space. It enhanced each note that the quartet played, immersing you into a realm of music that’s distinctive & exact. The fifteen song set list kicked off with “Silvergun Superman”, & included almost an hour & a half of hits like Vasoline, Army Ants, Down, Big Empty, Plush, Creep, & Sour Girl (which still continues to be their most successful song to date). Scott Weiland has staggering vocal abilities, & can “serenade like a songbird”, or tear into a YELL with grappling force! Despite his problematic past behavior, you cannot underestimate this man’s robust presence on the stage. His persona is eccentric. He opened the show adorned in a mysterious, black poncho-cape & wearing sunglasses. Scott’s range…utterly charismatic! You can get “lost” in the sound of Weiland’s voice, as he lucidly guides you through the heartfelt momentum of every song.
Robert DeLeo has an amazing stature as a bassist, & plays in an “almost vertical” position. His two-finger plucking style is as smooth as his three-piece suit, & he brings a sophistication to the band that would never be seen in Nirvana or any other type of “grunge-like” rock. Not only the co-founder of the Stone Temple Pilots, & brother to lead guitarist Dean DeLeo, Robert is a stronghold in the act – providing “depth” to the music & the show. His impermeable focus is his greatest strength. At times, playing in almost near dark, Robert would soon be engulfed by the bright lights…never missing a note.
Lead guitarist, Dean Deleo, plays with brisk alternative-rock mastery. He is unyielding & extremely precise, breaking into riffs that border on the lines of punk-metal. It is Dean’s “grinding” sound that helped propel the group into multi-platinum status & made their songwriting such a huge success. Although he experienced some computer pedal problems, at the Brandt Centre, it was easily overshadowed by his magnificent licks & zest for playing in front of a live audience. Dean really enjoys the crowd, no matter what the age, & was spotted pleasantly interacting with them on a number of occasions.
When it comes to drumming, Eric Kretz is not only talented, but this man NEVER buckles under pressure. His nonchalant style, & ease of technique, makes him a real pleasure to watch. It’s a shame that drummers get pushed to the back of the stage. They are such fascinating artists, who work incredibly HARD to form the “backbone” of every song. Kretz has obviously honed his skills over the years, which allows him to play with such a calm demeanor. He did break a sweat, but never lost his composure (or intensity) during the entire show, &…what a “state of the art” drum kit! Absolutely astounding against the brightly lit backdrop.
The Stone Temple Pilots have had fifteen singles on the “Billboard Top Ten”, including six that have reached the ‘Number One’ spot. They have released five albums, & sold more than 40 million copies worldwide, since being signed to Atlantic Records in 1991. They’ve received a Grammy for “Best Hard Rock Performer” (1994), amongst other prestigious music & video awards. But…what makes STP such a winning attraction is that they can regroup after such a long split & still bring out THE BEST in each other musically. This was definitely the consensus at the Regina show. All four members stood at the front of the stage (after encores), almost hesitant to leave the roaring crowd. Many fans were deeply moved to see this exhibition, as so few groups pose for pictures anymore…especially after such an intense break-up. Favorite songs of the evening included “Wicked Garden”, “Sex-Type Thing”, & the infamous “Dead & Bloated”.
If you have not had the opportunity to see STP “LIVE”, I highly recommend it. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait…because the band has postponed the rest of their tour dates, so that production can begin on their sixth studio album. It’s due for release in early 2010, & rumor has it, that The Pilots are currently working with eighteen possible songs for recording…proof that this stellar group has not lost its creative prowess.
Undeniably, one of the best bands of all time, the Stone Temple Pilots gripped every spectator with sheer musical magnitude. Forget the days of grunge, these guys have evolved far beyond that! “Piloted” (if you will) into another whole dimension…where entertaining with their songs, skills, personalities, & surroundings have become truly cosmic.
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