Hearing the band name Stone Temple Pilots conjures up some immediate and vivid imagery for children of the '90s, especially the ones into the Alternative and Grunge scenes. You immediately think of the quirky, self-centered, front man Scott Weiland who battled demons and drugs for the better part of 20 years. But you also just as immediately think of songs like “Dead And Bloated” “Plush” “Sour Girl” and “Creep” with a fondness and a bit of warmth and maybe a shudder upon recalling some of their videos.
Through break ups, make-ups, and bands with Slash, this foursome somehow is still alive and kickin' and remarkably has the original lineup fully intact and still making music. Is it as successful and beloved as their '90s fare? Of course not, but as evidenced by this nearly 80 minute set from a sold out 2010 show in Chicago, even newer material is met with enthusiasm and glee as Weiland performs it like you already love it.
Eagle Rock Entertainment released Alive in the Windy City June 26 (on DVD and Blu-ray) and while the timing and date of the show seem a bit random, I welcomed viewing this little treat since I hadn't seen STP perform live in years.
Alive starts off with crowd favorite "Vasoline" then we get "Crackerman" "Wicked Garden" and “Hollywood Bitch" before roaring right into "Between The Lines" off their then latest album which was released in May 2010. "Hickory Dichotomy" is a song no one heard unless they were misguided enough to buy the album or lucky enough to be at the show. Helping us purge that mess from our ear canals Scott generously and wisely scoots right into everyone's favorite "Big Empty" channeling his inner Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, and John Lydon simultaneously. He writhes all around the stage and up against his band mates of the last two decades like an experienced pole dancer.
We get “Sour Girl” next which Weiland leads into by saying they're slowing things down a bit because “We're 75-years old and need to catch our breath.” As if that wasn't delicious enough we're treated to “Creep,” “Plush” (complete with a nice audience sing-along) and “Interstate Love Song” just bam, bam, bam one after another. The next two are songs off the aforementioned self-titled effort no one cared about but, the band redeems themselves with my very favorite song to see live: “Sex Type Thing” which was dampened a bit when it seems Weiland is growing up or has body image issues or perhaps realizes dropping trou in public at 50 is not okay because he didn't get naked and run around in the American flag. Disappointing. Next, his beloved megaphone is back for “Dead And Bloated” and we close out the set with a couple lesser known songs off their first two albums (“Lounge Fly” and “Piece Of Pie”) with “Trippin' On A Hole In A Paper Heart” as the closer.
While it's nice to see Weiland back with the brothers DeLeo and drummer Eric Kretz and this was a high energy show that captured a lot of the essence of what STP was, is and will be...it's clear their best, more captivating days are behind them. That said, I recommend this highly for all fans, young and old who will be surprised that with a jam packed 18 song set, there were still about 10 well-known songs left out. STP has been a lot of things to a lot of people and not all of them pretty but, their stamp on music in the '90s is undeniable.