Saturday, September 4, 2010

Stone Temple Pilots! 8.31.10 @ Mohegan Sun

I'm not even sure that I can come up with words for how awesome this show was. It was by and large all old songs, but for about 4 songs from the new album and one cover. The four or so new songs that they chose were probably the four best songs on the new album. My biggest regret for the night was that we didn't switch our seats sooner. Our assigned seats were in the middle of a row (the seats were great, by the way - upstairs, stage left), so when we walked in we took some empty seats in the unsold section next to ours. Some security dude told us we had to move, so we did. When the show started, everyone in our crowded section remained seated and appeared to have no fun at all. Anyone who's read this blog before knows that I love to dance, so clearly this situation wasn't going to work for me. After about 4 songs, we moved back to the forbidden seats and I danced my ass off all night long. We also missed Cage the Elephant, who I had been stoked to see open, but hunger prevailed and we grabbed dinner before heading in to the show. Without further ado, here's the setlist (which, incidentally, is exactly the same as every other show they've played on this tour, but more on that later):

1. Crackerman
2. Wicked Garden
3. Vasoline
4. Heaven and Hot Rods
5. Between the Lines
6. Hickory Dichotomy
7. Still Remains
8. Cinnamon
9. Big Empty
10. Dancing Days (Led Zep cover)
11. Pretty Penny
12. Silvergun Superman
13. Plush
14. Interstate Love Song
15. Huckleberry Crumble
16. Down
17. Sex Type Thing
18. Dead and Bloated
19. Trippin on a Hole in a Paper Heart

I realized at the show the other night just how much Scott Weiland uses his voice as an instrument. To some extent, I know that all vocalists do, but Scotty's voice can change so dramatically from one song to the next, and sometimes it really just sounds like he's playing along. Check out Hickory Dichotomy and Interstate Love Song, especially, to see what I mean. Along those same lines, I really love the megaphone/microphone thing he does on songs like Crackerman and Dead and Bloated.

The show started off hard and heavy with Crackerman, and that carried the feeling for the whole show. Scotty came out wearing all black, including a cape, hat, sunglasses and a scarf. Song by song, the layers came off. The man has style, I gotta say. I wish that more layers had come off; Scotty without a shirt might've made my life, but even still. Speaking of Scotty's style - I recently learned that he has a clothing line. Crazy, right? And seriously, follow that link and check out some of the clothes in that line - it's all button-downs, suits and ties. And they're really, really nice.

Crackerman was an amazing way to start the show, and Trippin... was an excellent closer. Though, any closer would have made me feel sad, really. I was bummed when I walked out of that show. Bummed. My heart hurt, I was so sad that it was really over. I haven't felt that strongly about a show being over in a long time. I'm always sad, but the other night, it was severe. I can usually turn it around to being thankful that I had the opportunity to be there in the first place, and hold onto that gratitude, but I had to KEEP ON reminding myself of that until I fell asleep.

While we're talking about individual songs - Wicked Garden and Dead and Bloated might have been my favorites for the night. I was so souped to hear Sex Type Thing (Scotty growling something about how he'll give me something that I won't forget and how I shouldn't have worn that dress just does it for me, honestly, and it did it Tuesday night, but not like I wanted it to), but it just wasn't as awesome as WG or DaB. Plush into Interstate Love Song was a moment - the crowd sang the chorus, and it was as cool as it always is when that happens. Those two songs are just so widely known, you couldn't help but appreciate the whole place singing along. There were multiple occasions when I found myself thinking that this was what church should feel like.

Scotty looked almost pudgy about the belly on stage. That made me so happy. The level of awesome achieved on this newest album raised fears in the back of my head that he was back on the smack, but I think he looked too good (and too chubby) for that at this show.  No doubt, he still drinks, and I'm pretty sure that wasn't water he was swigging between songs, but whatever it takes.  I did some further research on this point (shocking, I know), and learned that this new album was only the third that Weiland has ever recorded sober (fn and fn). The other two were STP's debut, Core, and Velvet Revolver's second album, Libertad.  I feel like this helps explain how this album got to be so great, as well as some of the freaky that Scotty had going on in between.

I am a little bummed by the fact that they're playing exactly the same show for every show on the tour, and in that way, I feel a little let down by the lack of spontaneity, but I think this is a common thing with rock tours nowadays, and STP is not alone in sticking to a formula that works.

If I can just digress for a minute here - what happened to the days of bands coming up with and rehearsing a couple of set lists that worked real well, and then shuffling through them throughout the tour, adding and subtracting to suit the mood as it happened? I'll tell you what - major labels and the demand for more and more over-produced shows has led to the lights, cameras, lyricsmonitorsinthestage! (yes, STP, I sat side-stage the other night, I know you're guilty of it - I'm not saying you relied heavily on them, or even used them at all, but they were there) atmosphere that we now see and pay for with every ticket we buy. And speaking of tickets that we buy - don't advertise your show as proudly keeping ticket prices under $50 (and I'm not talking about STP here - they were over $50 and proud of it), only to charge $49.50 plus $13 in "service charges." That's bullshit, it's disingenuous, and it's not how you should be treating your fans. Pearl Jam got out of the ticketmaster/major label bullshit, and others could and should do it as well. Gimme an old-fashioned club show for $15 ($20 at the door) over such an over-produced, multi-million dollar spectacle any day. J even said that this show would've been so. much. better. had it been at HOB instead of Mohegan. I think that at every single big arena show I go to, and it's rare for him to agree or care to discuss the finer points with me, let alone to bring it up himself. I'm glad he has seen the light, and I can only hope that he will continue to vociferate on the topic, as I hope that you will, dear readers. Down with major labels!

All of that aside, though - it was a fabulous show, whether it was the same as every other show on the tour or not. I guess it works out well that I couldn't afford to go to the show in Boston the following night, because it might've felt too contrived after seeing the exact same show the night before. Either way - the show was still one of the best I've seen. If you haven't heard the new album, do yourself a favor and check it out. And if you have a chance to catch a show - go! Trust me on this, I've seen the exact same show already. :)

ETA (on 9.9.10) - Holy crap, I almost forgot about my other favorite part of the show.  Big Empty just came on as I'm sitting at my desk eating lunch, and I remembered how right before STP launched into this last week, Scott lit a cigarette and sang this song kind of low and mellow while he was smoking.  It was great.  See kids, sometime smoking still does make you look cool.  ;)

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