Show Review: Stone Temple Pilots at The Fox Oakland, 10/20/09

by Gordon Elgart on October 21, 2009

Watch the time go by ...

Watch the time go by ...

Stone Temple Pilots were considered a derivative band by people who never really spent much time listening to them. I know them to be a creative band with a distinctive sound, yet a rocky history.  Back in their heyday, you never knew what you were going to get.  Would Scott Weiland make it on stage?  Would he hit the notes?  Would the show be canceled?  Now, he appears to be straight as an arrow, and although I’m extremely happy he’s made it through to today, he’s lost a bit of his fire, as has the band as a whole. What’s it like when one of your old-time favorites cashes a paycheck in your presence?

The first sign that things might lack a little edge was the choice of opening bands: a Police cover band. When you get a tribute band to open for you, you’ve basically let people know that you’re no longer a hungry band on the edge, but rather a band ready for Vegas.

Maybe I’m making it sound worse than it actually was, because the band hit all their notes at the right time, played a tight set of their greatest hits, and generally acted professionally throughout.  There’s no doubt, though, that it was pretty boring.  When they went into “Crackerman,” I expected the pit to finally get going.  Nope.  Would “Sex Type Thing” get people going?  Not really.  There was some singing along, but no real liveliness to be seen.  I noticed that the drug of choice for the night was marijuana not beer, which may have led to this development.  Since when were STP a stoner band, and not a drinking-and-fighting band?

It was a bit disappointing to witness the band going through the motions, since only last year, they played a sloppy but exciting set at The Greek Theater in Berkeley.  That show had an element of danger, as Weiland made up some odd songs on the spot, forgot some words, sang some songs really poorly, and then blew right through the curfew to finish playing the set they wanted to play.  Tonight’s version of Stone Temple Pilots would not have done that.

Still, the band has some really strong material, even though it all sounds like itself when you hear it in one sitting. If Stone Temple Pilots is guilty of being derivative, it’s because they’re a bit derivative of themselves. I think STP is a band that needs some new material to re-energize themselves.  Sure, no one listens to new songs by classic bands, but just having a reason to sell themselves again might light the fire under themselves that they need to play like it matters to them anymore.

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Stone Temple Pilots setlist for 10/20/09:

Silvergun Superman
Wicked Garden
Vasoline
Big Empty
Lounge Fly
Army Ants
Sour Girl
Creep
Crackerman
Plush
Interstate Love Song
Down
Jazzy Intro/Sex type Thing
Sin
Unglued
——-
Bluesy Intro/Dead and Bloated
Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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