Stone Temple Pilots
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Seminole Hard Rock Live, Hollywood
Better Than: A Jukebox Filled with Hits of the ‘90s
You want perspective? Try hanging amid thousands upon thousands of so-called adults who – for one night only! – are acting as if they’re in high school all over again. That’ll give you perspective. Lots and lots of perspective. The problem is, you won’t want it, not from them. I mean, you didn’t want it then, back when everybody was blind drunk, why would you want it now, when everybody’s, well, blind drunk?
You wouldn’t. And you don’t. I don’t anyway. Which why I can’t for the life of me figure out why I went way up to Hard Rock last night. Oh, I got it. This rock band that everybody used to dig was in town to remind us why we dug ‘em in the first place. And why we must dig them still.
Yes, I’m talking about Stone Temple Pilots. And No, they’re not dead. Not even close. Probably because they’ve spent their entire lives looking Death in the face and laughing at him.
The singer has, anyway, taunting and teasing the grim deity with every word, every gesture and every minute that he stole from the threshold of eternity, and made of it his own.
And, of course, in every song. Which is the real reason why we dug STP way back then, and why we’ll keep digging ‘em through the future, no matter what the tabloids say.
“Plush” came first, an odd choice for an opener, but then STP seems to be set on getting even on everyone who’s ever said a disparaging word. In fact, the way they slowed down its crawl, it was almost as if they were getting even with the song itself. Pulling apart all the components that made it such an inexplicable hit.
And, to be sure, “Plush” was a hit, hell, it won a fucking Grammy for Zeus’s sake, and, if the 2 million YouTube views over the past year are any indication, it’s still a hit.
So is “Wicked Garden,” even if it was never released as a single – and even after 15 years. And to prove it, the crowd shouted along with every word in the song.
Aside from some kinda quasi-impromptu riffing and wordplay (rumor is the band’s writing their next LP onstage), from then on out the hits just kept on coming: “Interstate Love Song,” “Creep,” “Sex Type Thing,” “Big Bang Baby.” After awhile I stopped counting chart toppers and just imagined I was hearing 2003’s Thank You live and loud and in its entirety.
Which is kinda the point of a reunion tour, isn’t it? Bringing back all the best that there ever was. That STP manages to bring it back almost as if it never left is either testament to their newfound formidability or a symptom of our own heady nostalgia. I’m thinkin’ it’s both.
Personal Bias: I believe everybody deserves second, third and even fourth chances – if they’ve got guts enough to take ‘em.
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Random Detail: Weiland may be sober now, but blessedly, he still reeks of debauchery.
By the Way: STP slipped back to LA mid-tour so they could help launch the Tony Hawk T-Mobile Sidekick. Among those at the show: Heidi Montag and Mr. Brainwash.
-- John Hood