Live Show Review and Photo Essay: Stone Temple Pilots

Stone Temple Pilots
Sarnia Bayfest
Sarnia, Ontario
July 11, 2009

coverWhat a show this was. How ironic that the first time I was scheduled to see STP back in ’96 when they were my favourite “newer” band and opening for my favourite band of all time, Kiss, who’d just reformed for the Reunion Tour. Shortly before the show, I learned that STP was not going to be opening because, yes you guessed it, Scott was a bit of a mess and ended up in rehab. But the irony lies in that this weekend, I was to see both bands headlining, one after the other, Friday night Kiss, and Saturday night, Stone Temple Pilots.

I was SO bummed back then. I mean I was REALLY pumped to see Kiss get back together as I was always a HUGE Kiss fan, but as far as new music was concerned there was NOTHING better than Stone Temple Pilots at the time. Not for me anyway. The band itself is phenomenal. Three guys playing their asses off creating some of the best music my ears had ever got a hold of. Plus this singer who just seemed to mesh with the whole thing so perfectly with his moves, voice and style. Tunes like “Interstate Love Song”, “Big Empty”, “Dead and Bloated” and “Unglued” to name a few.. perfectly woven songs that just take you away to another world for 3 minutes and drop you safely back on the planet just in time for your next dose of reality.

Not too long after that, the band Talk Show, STP minus Scott Weiland, came to town and I saw Weiland’s replacement, Dave Coutts, walking up the street with a couple of babes on his arm. He was smiling away and looked like he was really enjoying life. I just had to say something to him so I did. “Buddy! You are the luckiest fucker on earth! You have the most smokinest kick ass fuckin band there is! You are SO lucky they picked YOU as their singer!!! Enjoy the ride man!!!”

Now I figure if you drop a statement like that on a guy, he’s either gonna get pissed off, if he’s a dick or he’s gonna acknowledge that I’m fuckin RIGHT. Cuz I AM and we both know it. Well he was totally cool about it. he just smiled even bigger and said “Thanks man, I know!” He truly looked humbled and after he signed my buddy’s shit and left, my buddy said to me “man. why would you say that to him??” I think he thought I should be a little more star struck or something but that don’t happen with this dude.

Anyway.. I weaseled up to the front of the stage and acquired 3rd row, just perfect to take in one of my favourite bands of all time. We were almost in the identical spot as we were the night before for Kiss. I was curious to see what songs STP would throw at us. Sure there’s the “hits” but then there’s a whole shitload of tunes that I look at as just phenomenal music, but do THEY look at it like that? I never once saw a setlist for STP so I had no clue what they’d pull outta the bag. Surprisingly enough, they pulled liberally from the first two albums. 15 of the 19 songs played were from the debut and sophomore albums, Core and Purple, respectively. I’m probably not the only one who looks to those two albums as being their best.

Scott Weiland hit the stage looking like Dirty Harry went fedora shopping. Way too cool. I was almost expecting him to pull out a .44 Magnum and blow somebody’s head clean off punk. Robert DeLeo, bassist, was also stylin to the extreme. He had a Hunter S. Thompson thing going on, with his suit and slicked back hair that could only have been topped off with a Targard cigarette filter flickering back n forth in his mouth. Brother Dean over on stage left held up the 6 string end of the bargain lookin like a skid who just crawled outta bed. One couldn’t argue, his guitars were definitely awake and sounding brilliant. Eric sat mostly expressionless up there in the back with only a couple very minor fuck ups, but hey, it was the first night of the tour so SOMEONE had to show a sign of carbon build up.

Compared to the Kiss show the night before it was actually, dare I say, a little on the boring side. But how does one follow up the spectacle that is Mr. Simmons and his crew? One thing for sure, STP’s music was real fuckin far from boring and made up for any lack of explosions, fire and blood. I mean I’m a huge Kiss fan and we were singing all the tunes the night before, but when STP pulled out the heavy hitters, I could hear the crowd singing along as loud as the band . THAT wasn’t happening during Kiss for ANY song. Tunes like “Sour Girl” and “Interstate Love Song” were just HUGE but the real crowd pleaser seemed to be “Dead and Bloated.” I absolutely loved every minute of this show. Every tune they played, and the all out coolness of this classic act, left me smiling ear to ear and just happy to be alive. If you don’t own any STP products you should be ashamed of yourself. I encourage you all. Go out and buy all their CDs, listen to them A LOT. Then go see them live and get ready to sing along.

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