Friday, September 20, 2013

STP reaches new creative heights with Bennington

ORLANDO Embattled rock band Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington played a rousing show packed with revitalized energy at the House of Blues Orlando on Wednesday, Sept. 18. All legal drama aside, fans that witnessed this concert went ballistic with an outpouring of support for the music they love.

With all the publicized drama this year about the ongoing lawsuits between STP's former frontman Scott Weiland and the other founding members of the band, it's hard to know what to expect before you see the group in its currently reformed state featuring Linkin Parks' lead vocalist Chester Bennington as a replacement for Weiland.

Some hardline STP fans are adamantly against replacing Weiland with Bennington, and are often voicing their opposition on online forums and comment boxes claiming in general that it's a disrespectful move to a core group of fans. They are also quick to ridicule Bennington's performing style, saying that it doesn’t fit with the foundational sound of the band.

Like most of the uninformed opinions on the internet, the derision of Bennington and STP for the sake of siding with Weiland is petty and misinformed. Seeing the group live and forming your own opinion is the only way to find the truth.

If STP's show in Orlando is a broad indication of things to come, Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington is a musical match made in heaven.

Songs performed on this tour showcased a full range of music from the groups over 20 years of hard rock recordings. This included several of their old-school songs like “Wicked Garden” and “Vasoline” that are considered by some to be modern rock classics, to later released songs like “Down” and “Sex and Violence” off their fourth studio album released in 1999. The group also performed “Out of Time” and “Black Heart” which are featured on their upcoming EP album “High Rise,” which is set for release on Oct. 8.

Most of the songs performed went over well, but hit songs like “Interstate Love Song” were clearly the biggest crowd-pleasing numbers of the evening. Any time the audience is singing louder than an amplified vocalist and cheering with a deafening applause afterwards, you can easily tell that a majority, if not everyone, in attendance is impressed and entertained.

Audience member Teresa Phillips described the current state of STP with Bennington as “Incredible. Not only has he [Bennington] woken them up, he's brought them to a new level.”

Bennington's performance was the shining achievement of the evening. Not only was his singing pitch perfect and held true to the original tone of the music, but he also carried himself with a professional humbleness balanced with frontman charisma. Slower songs in a lower key were performed nearly mirror image to Weiland, but when he kicks into full gear he brings more of himself to the song and really shines in that moment.

The three original members of STP, bassist Robert DeLeo, guitarist Dean DeLeo and drummer Eric Kretz, all played with a revitalized energy through the concert. Musically their sound was crisp and vibrant, and they would all continually express an exuberant joy on-stage as they performed.

“I saw STP back in 94 in my sophomore year of college and I saw Scott Weiland solo years ago down in south Florida,” said audience member and STP fan Nate McDonald. “Overall; sound wise and pure music quality, this was the best performance of STP I've seen by far.”

If you're a true fan of STP or just curious, leave the naysayers and internet trolls to bicker amongst themselves and go see this band live to form your own opinion.

By James Tutten

(All photos by James Tutten)


Great review! I was impressed with the show as well.

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