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“DD Review: Stone Temple Pilots – Alive in the Windy CityYoutube Video

Score: 9/10

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Setlist:

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“Vasoline”

“Crackerman”

“Wicked Garden”

“Hollywood Bit**”

“Between the Lines”

“Hickory Dichotomy”

“Big Empty”

“Sour Girl”

“Creep”

“Plush”

“Interstate Love Song”

“Bagman”

“Huckleberry Crumble”

“Sex Type Thing”

“Dead & Bloated”

“Lounge Fly”

“Piece of Pie”

“Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart”

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Ok, here’s where I should probably say all that crap about how not everybody out there was born in 1983 and so views an STP live album as a sort of Bodhisattva rite, more or less.

Well, we’ve never gotten one before, which is sort of weird, other than Unplugged. It’s especially weird when you absorb the magnanimous amount of stage presence this band has (which again, nobody would have known, apart from that one VMA unplugged lay-down of “Pretty Penny”), compared of course with what I generally see as a shyness epidemic amongst West Coast acts, the type of thing which can probably snowball into substance addiction, like we saw in that poor case of Chris Cornell.

Anyway, in terms of charisma, this band’s got it all in what must have been around a 2010 show or so, as it features material from Stone Temple Pilots – Scott Weiland struts like Bowie in a designer Paris t and tweaks the homomophic Midwesterners by coddling DeLeo, the guitarist and brother bassist Robert are both dressed to kill and drummer Eric Kretz, though not always, shows gutty measures of restraint when it’s most needed, keeping the tempo deliberate and lugubrious for “Creep” and “Big Empty.”

The former is a tune I’d allot as most IMPROVED UPON in this environment versus its original studio version and the reason has to do with FEEL, as well as just the facial expression of the singer. I noticed a similar phenomenon in this one Soul Coughing show I saw on Youtube – Mike Doughty got this especial look in his eye during “Mr. Bitterness,” like a 1,000-yard stare where he seemed to focus in on something six feet to the left of the camera (let’s hope it wasn’t a girl’s breasts), being mind you apparently completely oblivious to said camera, which he might have been from the start. Weiland sells

“Creep” all over this live version in a way that really makes it hit home, significant, perhaps, since this is arguably the original cut most responsible for generating all those accusations of “copycat” which would be hurled the band’s way throughout the ’90s and beyond.

Well, if they are copycats, they’re at least one he** of a cover band and they’ve really got this touring stuff down pat, keeping it fun with fellow-bandmate-groping, audience singalongs and also this awesome technique of singing into a megaphone which then feeds the microphone (the apparent exact technique utilized in the chorus of “Crackerman” for the “Get away / Gotta get away” segment). Also, and this might be slightly less important, but just as a documentarian of all this stuff, I utterly marveled at Weiland’s sense of WHEN to announce a song’s title, for record keeping or just knowledge purposes, and when said song would already be familiar to everyone.

“Big Empty” obviously falls robustly into the latter category and on which the band really kill it here, finding its singer once again completely in the zone of throaty rhapsody and complete emotional authenticity. In our hardest moments in life, a little wiggle can feel like a climb up Mt. Everest. That is exactly what the third and fourth bars of “Big Empty” are like: they mimic the band chord progression of the first two bars, but Weiland launches into a different vocal melody, like a writhing gasp at individuality, at true, transcendent existence and happiness. “Big Empty” is a misanthropic song. Weiland is singing about a certain he**, of sorts, but it’s the kind of he** that comes WITH another person. The exact feel summoned by the song is of The Who-inspired classic rock, as in their best moments like say “The Seeker” or, forgive the epic comparison point, “Won’t Get Fooled again”… here this Dionysian shiftiness comes packaged readily in the expedited, metrosexual ’90s when there was no room for self-indulgence, which is appropriate as, just as is showcased in the song’s lyrics, Weiland had no “self” to go with anyway.

All in all, it was a good concert, and sorry but as a current resident of drug-city-U.S.A. a.k.a. Terre Haute, Indiana I just have to give props to the Chicago audience for not applauding during the “Too much tripping and my soul’s worn thin” lyric in “Big Empty.” Actually, Weiland even sings this lyric as if he’s baiting them into a juvenile appreciation (this isn’t “teenage wasteland”), but they still abstain, Chicago being an everyday, what-you-see-is-what-you-get, blue-collar drinker’s town. Cheers.

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Companion STP Playlist to Alive in the Windy City:

1 “Naked Sunday”

2 “Meatplow”

3 “Still Remains”

4 “Pretty Penny”

5 “Silvergun Superman”

6 “Pop’s Love Suicide”

7 “Tumble in the Rough”

8 “Big Bang Baby”

9 “Lady Picture Show” [1]

10 “And So I Know”

11 “Ride the Cliché”

12 “Daisy”

13 “Seven Caged Tigers”

14 “Down” [2]

15 “Heaven & Hot Rods”

16 “Pruno”

17 “Church on Tuesday”

18 “No Way out”

19 “Glide”

20 “Atlanta”

21 “Modzilla” (Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts)

22 “Way She Moves” (Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts)

23 “Hotel Rio” (Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts)

24 “Amethyst” (Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts)

25 “White Lightning” (Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts)

26 “Plush” (live/MTV Unplugged)

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[1] “Lady Picture Show” is easily the most surprising omission from the setlist to me, a pliable, celestial single of perennial radio playability and scoundrel hummability.

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[2] It surprised me not to hear “Down” too, although it’s certainly hard to replicate Brendan O’Brien’s crushing production in the live setting (just ask Pearl Jam), also it doesn’t help that it sounds like he’s saying “Are you ready for the tornado”.

 

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