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Monday, June 12, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 150

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With a healthy Weiland, STP an untouchable band

By Ed De La Garza
Daily Cougar Staff

Long live rock and roll.

After a three-year hiatus from touring, it wouldn't have come as a surprise to see the Stone Temple Pilots disappoint the thousands of fans who flocked to the Aerial Theatre at Bayou Place last Thursday night.

Singer Scott Weiland's drug problems have been well-documented. His run-ins with the law forced the band to cancel its last tour. From the looks of it, STP was eager to get back on the road and show its detractors that rumors of its demise had been greatly exaggerated.

Opening band Hurricane Andy set the mood nicely with straight-ahead hard rock. While the unknown band only served as filler, it did pull off a good cover of The Beatles' "I Want You (She's So Heavy)," giving the song a desperate, longing feeling not present in the original.

The Stone Temple Pilots opened with the hard-hitting "Crackerman" from its first album, Core. Dominated by songs from its first two albums, the 18-song set seldom let up, prompting the fans up front to turn into a giant mosh pit. It seemed as if there were fans crowd surfing during every song.


Scott Weiland glides across the stage during the Stone Temple Pilots' performance at the Aerial Theatre June 8. It was STP's first visit to Houston in three years.

Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar

While it's on tour in support of its new album, the set only included three songs from No. 4.

Bassist Robert DeLeo may be the chief songwriter in the group, but there is no doubt that Weiland is the frontman. The singer danced across the stage, providing "Bon Jovi moments," (throwing sweaty towels to the crowd) while making use of the intimate venue. Unlike many of today's lead singers, Weiland didn't brood. He interacted.

"Who says we don't work for a living? I'm just kidding, this isn't work," Weiland said.

The singer later went on to take a dig at one of the STP's peers.

"We have a band in the back who plays for us. No, wait, that's Third Eye Blind," Weiland said.

After playing its hit "Big Empty," from Purple, the band finally took a breather from the pseudo-metal assault with a two-song acoustic set which featured its latest hit "Sour Girl" from No. 4 and a crowd favorite, "Creep." Weiland let the fans sing an entire verse of the MTV hit. The fans, for their part, didn't miss a note.

It was back to the electric guitar after the brief unplugged portion. This time, the band eased up on the feedback by playing the radio hits "Interstate Love Song" and the song that made them popular, "Plush."

The Pilots closed with angry rock songs directed at its harshest critics.

"We haven't toured in three years. People counted us out, but we're not going anywhere," Weiland said.

"Trippin' On a Hole With A Paper Heart," was given a more punk sound.

The band returned for a 15-minute encore which featured "Sex Type Thing," with drummer Eric Kretz hitting the gong at song's end while sirens blasted throughout the arena.

While it may have become popular with the slower-tempo songs, the Stone Temple Pilots reminded the fans that it is indeed a hard rock band.

The underrated guitarist Dean DeLeo's presence was felt throughout the set while brother Robert and Kretz provided the foundation Dean needed to let his solos soar.

Weiland never looked better. His performance makes you wonder just how much bigger STP would be if he could have stayed out of trouble. While the smaller Aerial Theatre insured that only its most die-hard fans got in, the Pilots should be playing in bigger venues.

STP can shake the world out of its teeny-bopper doldrums, but it needs a healthy Scott Weiland to lead the way.
 

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