Stone’s free: Robert DeLeo (left) and
Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots got the band back together for a
raucous July 15 gig at Canandaigua’s Constellation Brands Marvin Sands
Performing Arts Center. MATT MUMAU PHOTO
It’s not much of a stretch to think that
Weiland was up to something backstage prior to the gig’s kickoff,
considering the band didn’t get in front of the audience until almost
an hour past the scheduled appearance. But when guitarist Dean DeLeo
walked out, cigarette in his mouth and Les Paul in hand, the confident
smirk on his kisser seemed to suggest that he knew his band was ready
to make its return after being MIA since 2002’s Shangri-La Dee Da (Atlantic), the band’s last studio album.
All the songs you know, including an
opening medley of “Big Empty” and “Big Bang Baby,” which careened into
the righteously psychedelic “Silvergun Superman,” captivated fans who
sang along to the band’s lyrics for the duration of the show. “Lounge
Fly,” the song once used as the theme to MTV News, and the
mind-bender “Vaseline,” which Velvet Revolver had occasionally covered
during Weiland’s STP hiatus, rounded out the hit parade.
But the band dug into some of its deeper
cuts with a run through “Lady Picture Show,” after which Dean’s brother
and lifelong bassist Robert DeLeo segued into a post-song, jazz
jam session. The meanderings, which happened frequently throughout the
show, suggested part of the developments that STP’s main songwriters
have undergone during their stint with side project Army of Anyone. In sync with those diversions, drummer Eric Kretz provided light cymbal accompaniment for the bass player’s flights of fancy.
Weiland, perhaps having noted the
experimentation, then picked up his trademark megaphone and announced
to the crowd, “This one’s for the fans, not the band,” prior to ripping into a scintillating rendition of “Crackerman” from their debut album Core
(Atlantic). As waves of blue light strobed through the audience via the
over-the-top light show the band brought with them, Dean DeLeo took the
classic 1990s buzz-band textures of that song’s solo to new heights.
The band also played tunes from the latter part of their heyday, including “Too Cool Queenie” from the back-to-the-basics album No. 4 (Atlantic).
Eerily in line with the tale of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s suicide
and that artist’s relationship with Courtney Love, “Queenie” has been
said to have stemmed from Weiland’s friendship with the burned-out punk
diva. Shangri’s “Coma” then spoke to the hard-rocking roots of the band that was originally slated to be called Shirley Temple’s Pussy.
Fans and band alike had truly come
together by the end of the performance, with Weiland only singing about
half of his lyrics and sticking the mike into the ecstatic crowd to let
them warble the rest. After a rendering of the oh-so-pleasant
nail-biting guitar work in “Trippin’ On a Hole In a Paper Heart” during
the encore, Kretz tossed his snare head into the audience. The band
took a final bow as a reunited foursome in front of the crowd, looking
resolutely primed to make a comeback and to stamp their indelible mark
on the history of rock itself.
Summer’s the perfect time for cruising
to Canandaigua to see the top-shelf concerts still on tap at CMAC,
including the upcoming gig featuring country stars Gary Allan, Sara Evans and Luke Bryan on Friday, July 25, 7 p.m. Tickets are $40 to $80 for official seating, and $30 for lawn seating. Irish tenor Ronan Tynan
will then perform on Sunday, July 27, 7 p.m.; tickets are $35 to $150.
Scads of other acts will run throughout the summer, so check The New Times’s weekly concert listings for additional info. Call Ticketmaster at 472-0700 for ducats, or (585) 758-5300 for CMAC details.