By Chris Meyer
For a band that has had its fair share of ups and downs, Stone Temple Pilots are at the top of their game after more than twenty years together. On Wednesday night at the Paramount Theatre in Huntington, NY, any worries or concerns that one may have had about the status of frontman Scott Weiland, or the notoriously tense relationships between band members, were easily put to rest. Since reuniting in 2008 after a tumultuous breakup, Weiland’s bouts with drug addiction, and various side projects, the band has never been better! Witnessing the second of two shows at the Paramount was evidence of that.
I saw STP several times since ‘99 and know that they put on one hell of a show, there was some curiosity as to whether or not these guys could still deliver the goods. For starters, Scott Weiland’s voice is as good as it has ever been. One would think after 27 years of being on the road (since the band initially came together as Mighty Joe Young in 1986), numerous battles with drug addiction, and the general wear-and-tear that comes with age, he might have lost a little something in his voice or slowed down his energetic stage show. This was not the case whatsoever; he still moves around on stage as well as any twenty-something frontman you see tidy. He is as flamboyant a rock star as they come, moving his skinny torso this way and that with no effort, and his ever-changing wardrobe has become something legendary.
On this particular night, dressed in skinny jeans, white shirt, skinny black tie and blazer, Weiland and the trio of Rob DeLeo on bass, Dean DeLeo on guitar, and Eric Kretz on drums, came out swinging with ‘Sin’ from 1992’s debut Core. ‘Vasoline’ and ‘Crackerman’ followed, as the crowd got into the swing of things from the very beginning. Seeing STP in an intimate venue like the Paramount was incredible, as the acoustics in the place are excellent and allow you to clearly hear the bass and guitar riffs of the deLeo brothers. ‘Big Empty’ off Purple (and The Crow movie soundtrack) brought some breathing room to the high-energy set, and allowed for some choice sing-along time. The rest of the set saw some classic songs from their catalogue, and those in attendance were more than pleased with the performance. There was even a small mosh pit going, which for people in their mid-30’s and above, (most of the crowd fit into this category) it just doesn’t work and can be annoying. But, at least they were having a good time, which is better than the alternative of people just standing around like zombies – that is the worst.
Having seen around a dozen shows at the Paramount, the chant to get STP back on stage was probably the loudest I had ever heard there. Weiland and company delivered a rockin’ encore of ‘Unglued’ from Purple, and ended fittingly with ‘Sex Type Thing’ off Core, as they must have known what was on our minds. We cheered for more! For a band that is in their third decade of existence, this was definitely no nostalgia act; it was quite the opposite. This is a band that is still an important part of today’s rock music scene. They are still writing good music, and still bring it to the stage. Rock is very much alive!