Stone Temple Pilots: Alive In The Windy City | Rating: 8.5/11 |
Stone Temple Pilots fans have something to cheer about: no more crap quality bootleg concert DVDs. It’s taken a while, but they finally have an official concert video release that is pretty nuts and bolts STP. It should never be doubted how much of a musical impact vocalist Scott Weiland, bassist Robert DeLeo, guitarist Dean DeLeo and drummer Eric Kretz have had on the alternative rock scene. Their seminal songs have graced the radio waves and have, without question, stood the test of time. Other than immense royalty checks, a band really couldn’t ask for much more. Here is Weiland and his herky-jerky, prancing, dancing, megaphone loving, ass strutting frontman-self as he leads the band through its gears in a rather full overview of who STP are.
Despite being somewhat of the “red headed stepchildren” of the alt rock field and dismissed as some of the worst bands that the alt rock genre had to offer early in their career STP, now 20 years deep into their career, have sturdy proof that they have never been unappreciated by the ones who truly matter: the fans. Alive In The Windy City proves this is surely true because they seem to either forgive or simply overlook the slight chink in the band’s armor that has developed over the years: Weiland’s vocal prowess. Fiery “Crackerman” sounds on point, but when the songs dial down for their oeuvre’s definition of a ballad (beginning with “Big Empty”) that’s where the vocal wear begins to show. “Big Empty” held its own; “Interstate Love Song,” not so much.
Stone Temple Pilots puts the crowd through its paces straight out of the gate with little conversation (but for prefacing that “Hollywood Bitch” truly is about a bitch Weiland knew in Hollywood). Kretz and the DeLeo brothers are rock solid and cohesive in their respective roles, but then they always are – the variable is always Weiland. His conversation warbles (is that Gatorade in that bottle or something else?), but gives as good as he gets from the crowd with respect to energy and the occasional moments when he reaches out for physical contact. Song selection is also as solid if not a ‘greatest hits’ pull, and the visual spectacle of light projections and effects, while shy of being ‘spectacular’, serves up just enough of a psychedelic vibe to complement the glam. And the conscious choice of a theater venue to house their noise lends an undercurrent of class to an event where moshing is a reasonable expectation.
Even though the band members have rotated in and out of other musical projects, the four have never abandoned their core (pun intended) formation of STP and what they display is how synchronized they are even after all of these years of stumbles and mini implosions. Included in the DVD is an interview session with the band that’s functional and semi-informative, but – honestly – why Kretz even bothered to show up is a good question as he’s little more than a guy sitting on a couch. But the image of all four pieces of the STP puzzle looking and sounding back on the rails will probably emotionally fortify the hardcore and long term fan… which is really who this DVD is for.