Reviews of Stone Temple Pilots' reunion tour so far had been hit and miss, though in recent weeks they have been mostly positive.
Wednesday night, STP was far more hit than miss. Although not a perfect show, at times Scott Weiland and company displayed the type of brilliance that made them one of the biggest acts of the early '90s. In fact, at times it felt like the crowd had been transported back 15 years. To use a sports analogy, STP's show Wednesday night was a solid, stand-up triple off the wall in deep center field.
The band played more than 90 minutes, delivering a strong mix of radio hits and B sides from all its albums, concentrating mainly on the band's first three releases including a pleasantly heavy dose of "Core," their 1992 multiplatinum debut album.
Rather than going full throttle out of the gate, however, the band opened with the slower paced "Big Empty," an interesting choice considering it has been nearly eight years since STP last played Utah, and the crowd of several thousand fans was ready to explode when the band took the stage.
The concert seemed to start for real by song two with "Wicked Garden." The lanky Weiland, dressed in a maroon fedora, sport coat, vest, white shirt, tie and sunglasses, strutted around the stage with his unique style and traditional pose of his left hand on his thigh with cigarette in hand while his right hand held his microphone high in the air. By night's end, Weiland was shirtless and hatless.
The DeLeo brothers, Dean on guitar and Robert on bass, ripped through favorites "Big Bang Baby" and "Vasoline," while Eric Kretz kept the beat on drums.
"We haven't frequented any cities for awhile. But when we were touring, this is a city that was left out for awhile. But, here we are," said Weiland to the crowd.
Although Weiland occasionally poked fun at the band's biggest singles, even introducing "Plush" by saying, "For some of you, this is the one you've been waiting for," it was those familiar songs that got some of the biggest audience reaction of the night.
Weiland's voice also got stronger as the night progressed, delivering highlight performances on "Crackerman," "Lady Picture Show" and "Sex Type Thing." Fans roared during "Creep," "Sour Girl" and "Interstate Love Song." Weiland also frequently used a bullhorn during the concert, including for the familiar intro of "Dead and Bloated." Other highligths included the lesser known "Down" off the "No. 4" CD, and "Coma."Big props also need to be given to Salt Lake City's own Royal Bliss, which got the call the night before the concert asking if the band was available to open. Neal Middleton and crew tore it up during an excellent 45-minute set.