Show Reviews

EVERYONE WAVE BYE-BYE TO SCOTT WEILAND

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Amongst the more surreal moments of the Stone Temple Pilots’ show at the PNC Bank Arts Center this past Sunday – and there were many – was the band breaking into an extended jam of The O’Jays’ “For the Love of Money” just prior to final encore “Dead and Bloated.” The moment was chock full of inadvertent gallows humor for two reasons:

  1. It’s fairly clear that at some point in the past few months the DeLeo Brothers and Eric Kretz all got together and said “Fuck it, let’s just try to make as much money as possible before Weiland dies.”
  2. “Dead and Bloated” is exactly the state in which someone unlucky will discover Weiland by the end of 2008.

Put more simply, Weiland – and STP – gave an unprofessional, sloppy, disorganized, sad, pathetic and embarrassing performance on Saturday night, seemingly fueled by little more than commerce and Weiland’s junk habit.

Arriving on stage an hour and a half after support act Filter concluded their set, Weiland practically stumbled out and warbled his way through “Big Empty,” barely able to stay on key. After that anticlimatic set opener, the front man spent most of the second song, “Wicked Garden” trying – and failing – to take his coat off.

Seriously.

Like a befuddled five year old, he finally resorted to swinging the jacket around until it was hanging on only by his wrist, at which point he finally put it on the stage floor and stepped on it, using the force to pull it off. This was the level of strung-out idiocy we were dealing with here.

Weiland’s garbled, slurred between-song banter was basically unintelligble (see video above, via Blabbermouth). Never before has a lead singer used the phrase “So anyway” so many times during the course of a single performance. And the band wasn’t helping any – seemingly without a set list, they convened around Kretz’s drum kit for a conversation in between every single song, meaning there was never any sense of flow or consistent energy to the performance.

Occasionally, Weiland seemed to snap to and remember there were a few thousand people there to watch him (You could practically hear him mumble “Who are you people? And how did you all get into my room?”); during these moments, he managed to prance around like he was still in his prime, and stay relatively on-key.

But such moments were few and far between; more often, the guy was just a disgusting mess. During a section of “Plush,” the band stopped playing, having clearly worked out a nice moment for the crowd to take over and sing along; unfortunately, Weiland just kept right on singing, acapella-style, until Dean DeLeo managed to get his attention and signaled for him to stop.

And lest you think I’m being a curmudgeonly Weiland-hater, here’s some excerpt from Nate Chinen’s review in The New York Times this morning:

“Mr. Weiland noted that this was a hometown show for half of the band, the brothers Robert and Dean DeLeo, who play bass and guitar. ‘I apologize for …’ he started to add. “Apology accepted, brother,” Robert DeLeo said quickly, changing the subject and hustling on with the show…

“A couple of months ago [Weiland] was cut loose from Velvet Revolver, a hard-rock supergroup with some former members of Guns N’ Roses; Slash, that band’s lead guitarist, placed the blame on Mr. Weiland’s ‘increasingly erratic onstage behavior and personal problems.’ (This coming from someone whose behavioral standard for a frontman was established by Axl Rose.)…

“Sometimes you make crazy choices. And judging by this show, the decision to tour right now may be one of them…

“…the feeling imparted by these performances was desultory and joyless. The band never rose above a sort of grim competence. It was the same with Mr. Weiland… his voice sounded less flexible than usual, and he sometimes seemed nearly out of breath. He forgot some lyrics and flubbed others…

“Of course, there remains hope for the tour, and for Mr. Weiland’s well-being. ‘I’m not dead and I’m not for sale,’ he sang in the chorus to ‘Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart.’ His band mates are among those who should care that at least one of those statements remains true.”

One of those statements won’t remain true for very long, though. Weiland is already for sale – the DeLeos and Kretz are clearly aware of how fucked up the guy is, and dragging him around on tour right now seems exploitative at best. As for the second statement, well, I think all of Weiland’s fans should just go ahead and brace themselves for what would appear to be an inevitable final overdose.

-AR

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