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  • Live Review: Stone Temple Pilots - Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles

    Thu, 26 Jun 2008 04:37:17

    Live Review: Stone Temple Pilots - Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles - Still plush after all these years

    Stone Temple Pilots Photos

    • Stone Temple Pilots - Captured by Corey Soria of Bloodline Media
    • Stone Temple Pilots - Captured by Corey Soria of Bloodline Media
    • Stone Temple Pilots - Captured by Corey Soria of Bloodline Media

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    • Stone Temple Pilots w/ Chester Bennington - Black Heart
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    The most moving moment of Tuesday night's Stone Temple Pilots homecoming may have had nothing to do with music. It was also probably missed by much of the audience, who were already leaving the Hollywood Bowl when Scott Weiland scrambled through the front sections of seats after the band's final bow, acknowledged fans and friends along the way, then jumped back onstage to join his wife and child before leaving the stage in their airtight embrace.

    Without diminishing the impact of any member of the band, the Weiland whirlwind was a key factor in the break-up of Stone Temple Pilots five years ago, and his current state of mind has to be a major contributing factor to the band’s reunion. For everything that has gone wrong with the frontman in recent years, it felt pretty damn good to see something that couldn’t have looked more right.

    Especially after experiencing a Stone Temple Pilots performance that reminded all in attendance why STP are one of America's premier rock and roll bands, and why live music will always remain one of a society’s most binding forums for self-realization and escape. It’s only rock and roll, but rock and roll is some powerful stuff. Stone Temple Pilots proved that at the Hollywood Bowl.

    "Big Empty" was a shocking pick as the show's opener, but the trippy sonics and intergalactic visuals, coupled with guitarist Dean DeLeo's psychedelic head trip and Weiland's laid back, ethereal delivery, all contributed to the wide-open musical feel that entranced the evening. "We've been doing this for seventeen years, and to play this venue… There are maybe five things in your life you remember, this is one of them…" said an overwhelmed Weiland between songs, the band flirting with The Beatles' "Day Tripper," then hitting a hard stop when the frontman joined in, only to launch into the more primal dynamics of "Wicked Garden."

    There was a back-and-forth and synergy within the band that defied they ever split apart, and a musical energy that was not only palatable, but infectious throughout the 105-minute, 19-song set culled entirely from their five studio albums. Weiland was far from pristine vocally, but what he lacked in power he made up for in presence, so much so that when he bemoaned, "I'm half the man I used to be…" during the somber, imperfect psychosis of "Creep," the wavering lyric was actually lent credence by the distressed delivery. "Big Bang Baby" wasn't as fortunate, falling flat despite the melodic punch of bassist Robert DeLeo's backing vocals.

    "Silver Gun Superman" was an early highlight, Robert DeLeo and drummer Eric Kretz laying a deep groundswell and Dean Deleo's guitar sending shockwaves through the Hollywood Bowl. "Vasoline" swept the near-capacity crowd like a crushing wave of modern rock-flavored psychedelia, the melodic strains of the John, Paul, George and Ringo-fashioned "Lady Picture Show" offered another opportunity for Weiland and DeLeo's layered vocals, and the soft and supple jingle-jangle of "Sour Girl" proved one of the night's most cohesive offerings, DeLeo's guitars capping the performance like a cool breeze across an arid desert.

    The enveloping warmth of the performances were only intensified by the smoky stage and soft colors that ebbed and flowed through the deepest expanses of the Bowl, the vibe evolving from an early cathartic, lounge-like luster, to the more hard-hitting and primordial blitz of the second half, the DeLeo brothers leaning into "Crackerman" amidst a flurry of strobes, nuclear explosions filling the video backdrop through "Down," and "Sex Type Thing" and "Sin" driving the main set home with decadent and propulsive authority. In an interesting lyrical play, the encore opened with "Dead And Bloated," then rolled into "Trippin' On A Hole In A Paper Heart," where the line "I'm not dead, and I'm not for sale…" echoed through the night sky as if a proclamation from Weiland and the newly reunited outfit: Stone Temple Pilots are alive and well.

    And on this night at the Hollywood Bowl, regardless of what the future may hold or history may have sold, life was very, very good.

    —Paul Gargano

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