Stone Temple Pilots accentuate old faves

Fri Jul 3, 2009 8:38pm EDT
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By Erik Pedersen

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - For a reunited band bent on having a future, Stone Temple Pilots spent most of its House of Blues show Wednesday visiting the past -- the distant past.

Fifteen of the 19 songs were from the first two albums, most played with meticulous attention to the recorded versions. It was a crowd-pleasing recital of radio hits with a couple of album cuts for the hardcore and no covers. Familiar riff after sing-along chorus.

That's swell, even encouraged -- for a heritage act. But there was no mention, let alone preview, of any rumored new music. There's a not-so-fine line between reunion and comeback.

But the sardine-packed crowd at the inaugural St. Jude's Rock 'n' Roll Hope Show got what it wanted -- mostly. One hitch: Scott Weiland, firmly re-ensconced as STP frontman after his Velvet Revolver sideshow, simply seemed off.

His vocals were solid enough, but he certainly wasn't the swaggering, charismatic scene-stealer who wowed concertgoers in the '90s. Those trademark snaky shimmies and slinks were oddly stiff, and even his usual pleasant chattiness was reined in.

Instead there were thank-yous, song intros that mostly just included the titles and a throwaway line about how much fun the band was having. His longest address to the crowd was about how tickets for this benefit show were more expensive than usual. "Paying is not such a bad thing for a cause like this," he said. He never named the cause.

(Proceeds benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. The Rock 'n' Roll Hope Show was co-created by Jason Thomas Gordon, grandson of St. Jude founder and TV icon Danny Thomas. Gordon's band, Kingsize, opened Wednesday's bill.)

Weiland's sluggishness aside, the SoCal quartet STP remains a strong live act. Basically a power trio plus singer, the band's propulsive songs have held up pretty well. The crowd equally cheered such fierce rockers as "Crackerman" and "Unglued," midtempo hits "Vasoline" and "Wicked Garden" and the purposeful plod of "Creep" and "Big Empty."   Continued...

<p>Drummer Eric Kretz (back), Scott Weiland and Dean DeLeo (R) of Stone Temple Pilots perform at the Virgin Mobile Festival in Baltimore, Maryland August 10, 2008. REUTERS/Bill Auth</p>