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Still oozing with talent

Stone Temple Pilots
Eagles Ballroom
Milwaukee, WI
March 26, 2010
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Story and photos by Phil Bonyata

The Stone Temple Pilot's crazy roller coaster ride seems to be on track again - if only for a little while. At the beginning, the band found themselves swimming in the wake left by the fathers of grunge - Nirvana and Pearl Jam, only to find themselves riding alongside on the crest. They've sold over 40 million records worldwide and have had 15 top 10 singles on the Billboard rock charts, including six #1s. Lead singer Scott Weiland's addiction to heroin and continual drug offenses put a major strain on the band - forcing multiple concert cancellations and band splits. The band finally broke up (for good they said) in 2003, only to reunite for a successful tour in 2008.

STP took a confident nod to the sold out Eagles Ballroom Friday night and lit into their personal battle cry -"Vasoline" (off of their 1993 smash album Purple). Weiland's nuanced voice inflections held firmly throughout this maddeningly infectious song. The band - Robert DeLeo (bass guitar, vocals) and brother Dean DeLeo (guitar) and Eric Kretz (drums, percussion) delivered a suckerpunch to the senses with precision accuracy. "Crackerman" and "Wicked Garden," both from their breakthrough album Core (1992), while ambitious in delivery, still fell flat due to the songs introspective harmonies and subtle chord progressions that were lost in the Eagles Ballroom sometimes suspect acoustics. The crowd didn't seem to mind though as they steadfastly followed the wild stage antics of Weiland and guitarist DeLeo as they pranced and preened themselves into a interweaving path only to meet at the end for some high note snuggling. "Between the Lines" off of their upcoming new album (to be released May 25, 2010), was played down to the slow tempo and subtle harmonies that never rose above the less than enthusiastic effort put out by the band.

Weiland, looking healthy and fit in black slacks and vest, pin stripe shirt and red polka dot tie, still maintains his majesty on stage. He's like a great meteor whose destiny is to burn brightly and fade quickly, but somehow he manages to survive and, indeed, thrive. "Sour Girl" from 1999's underrated No. 4 with it's post-punk melodies and acid drenched guitars burned both fast and furious. Monster songs "Creep" and "Plush" were played with rote precision keeping the delighted faithful on their toes and smiling. "Interstate Love Song," probably one the greatest songs of the '90s, was still oozing with it's anthemic crunch and sense of wonder, that the band seemed to become revitalized even by it's perpetual retelling. Other refreshing moments (and reminders of why STP are still relevant) of the evening were "Huckleberry Crumble," "Sex Type Thing," "Dead & Bloated" and the electric, creepy "Lounge Fly."

Related articles:

Scott Weiland - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - Jan. 2009
Stone Temple Pilots / Black Francis - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - July 2008
Velvet Revolver - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - Jan. 2008
Music Midtown Festival - Festival review - Tinley Park, IL - May 2002
Family Values Tour - Concert review - Rosemont, IL - Oct. 2001
STP / Disturbed - Concert review - Madison, WI - Oct. 2000
Red Hot Chili Peppers / STP - Concert review - Tinley Park, IL - Aug. 2000
Scott Weiland - 12 Bar Blues - Album review

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