Stone Temple Pilots at Jones Beach Theater on September 4, 2010
images courtesy of audioperv.com
collage by ASH FOX
It was the first day of September cool enough to break out the leather jacket. On a whim, I made the trek out to Jones Beach from Manhattan to see my favorite band Stone Temple Pilots. I linked up with fellow STP devotees and we hung out in the parking lot drinking beers and reminiscing about our favorite STP performances. We were from a few different generations, but all equally hard core about STP. Being a rock fan is similar to being a comic book nerd, except that instead of attending a convention like Comic-con we congregate in parking lots and back doors at rock shows. Some of the diehards were decked out in STP apparel, others had STP tattoos, but they all had a recognizable glimmer in their eye while talking about STP.
It was perfect concert weather. The sensation of the seasons changing reminded me of the quintessential STP song bridge. Even in some of STP’s darkest songs the bridge always provides a welcome reprieve. It uplifts and gives a feeling of renewal like a cool day after thick summer heat. Entering a new season feels simultaneously new and nostalgic. The beginning of a season always makes me think of where I was the year before. Every STP every song is colored with memories, but I still always hear something new.
Our seats were 10th row center with a perfect view of the stage. I’ve found that buying tickets at the very last minute is risky, but often the way to go. After seeing STP in GA the last time it was nice to have a seat. The madness of GA can be exhilarating, but having your own designated area of space to breathe and dance without people crashing into you and spilling beer on your outfit can be just as sweet. At around 8:45 (early for STP) the haunting intro music began and the audience rose up in unison. Scott Weiland strolled out onto the stage followed by drummer Eric Kretz, bassist Rob and guitarist Dean Deleo. They opened with Crackerman, a classic Core era STP song that always gets the crowd roaring. The show’s set list had more variety than some of their past performances. They mixed up the classic hits with a few tracks from their new self-titled album, as well as some lesser-known fan favorites such as Pretty Penny, Still Remains, Silvergun Superman, and Heaven and Hotrods. When they launched into “Heaven and Hotrods” an upbeat, heavier track from the album No. 4, the crowd went wild. There’s a lyric in the bridge “I’m still healing. Coming down. I’m still breathing” which seemed apropos for this era of STP. It’s 2010 and Stone Temple Pilots are going strong. They’re one of the few bands that have survived the 90s with all four members intact and are still writing new music. 80% of the venue was full proving there is still an audience for raw rock n’ roll. The Deleos were smiling, Eric was banging away and Scott’s voice sounded clearer than ever. Scott Weiland has a newfound calm and refinement about him. He’s no longer the feverish, shirtless, whirling dervish, but he’s still ever the showman. The focus seems to be less on stage antics and more on vocal performance. Weiland sounds deliberate in the way he uses his vocal instrument, there is less uninhibited angst. Still, I imagine singing your old songs must be like reading back your childhood diary entries. You read with enlightened eyes, but you can still hear the voice of adolescence in your head.
One of the show highlights was the performance of the love song, “Still Remains”. Scott’s high notes on “if you should die before me ask if you can bring a friend” meld perfectly with the high hum of Dean’s guitar. I interpret the lyrics as a proclamation of selfless love, to give of yourself and leave all your defenses behind. It always makes me swoon. The song, the performance, and the moment itself were so beautiful, that I couldn’t hold back a few salty tears.
I often get e-mails asking, “What do I wear to a rock show?” My answer in short is to go glam, amp up your everyday look and be comfortable. This next little story proves that dressing up for a show has it rewards. Before the concert began, I spotted a woman in a red fedora channeling Scott Weiland's current look. I pointed her out to my friend and couldn’t help but smile. Her look reminded me of the time I wore silver pants to a Velvet Revolver concert intent on channeling Scott Weiland in the “Slither” video. As I could tell, the red fedora lady was one smart cookie. During the encore, Scott motioned to her in the audience and next thing you know he pulls her on stage. They hug and he hands her his megaphone to sing the intro to “Dead and Bloated”. Fortunately someone captured this on video.
It was a magical moment for STP fans and for anyone who has ever dressed up as their favorite artist. If you’re now curious where you can find a red fedora I’ve got the hook up here.
When the band took their bows, the band’s children ran out onstage. Clearly, I’m sentimental when it comes to STP. For those who have been following STP since their beginnings it’s been over a 20-year relationship. Mine has been a bit shorter, but the fact is STP has shaped so many of my experiences. As a kid I wasn’t exposed to contemporary rock so hearing Purple for the first time was like an epiphany. It took 17 years to find music that made perfect sense to me. Is their a band or artist that has captivated you for years? I's love to hear your greatest concert memories.
Click below for my other Stone Temple Pilots related posts...
Just a Fan: My STP Concert Saga
Rock N' Roll Style Guide: Stone Temple Pilots
Scott Weiland's Hybrid Style