Former Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver frontman Scott Weiland brought his solo tour to Chicago's House of Blues on Tuesday, March 19. The show was advertised as "Purple at the Core," referring to music from STP's first two releases. Weiland also performed a handful of songs that have been inspirational to his career. California rockers Miggs opened the show.
Shortly after the tour was announced, a press release was issued indicating that "Stone Temple Pilots have announced they have officially terminated Scott Weiland." A notion that Weiland questioned considering he "fronted and co-wrote most of their biggest hits." The move is not unprecedented, Queensryche recently pulled the same stunt on vocalist Geoff Tate. There are currently two incarnations of Queensryche on tour.
The House of Blues curtains drew open about 15 minutes after the scheduled 9:15 p.m. start time, not bad considering Weiland has been criticized in the past for his late starts. Weiland's new band, The Wildabouts, were laying down a sweet psychedelic groove as Weiland entered slowly from the rear of the stage. He set a pack of Camels and a cup of tea on the drum riser and approached the mic stand with a lit cigarette as they segued into "Crackerman."
Weiland introduced the band then noted, "We learned these songs in a whole new way. It's a completely different animal all the way, every time." Per Weiland's remark, some of the songs seemed disconnected at times. His vocals were strong and his stage presence was mesmerizing, drawing attention to his every gesture; but the show's flow was lost in Weiland's frequent discourse.
The show was a cross between an episode of VH1's "Behind the Music" and a jam session. Weiland would often deliberate on the creative processes for a given song or provide insight into the Southern California music scene when STP broke loose. Otherwise, a slightly different take on the classic hits meandered between artistic and cumbersome. Most of the songs took a twist, with bits of The Doors and Led Zeppelin rolling through hits "Creep" and "Big Empty."
Constantly sauntering across the stage, Weiland worked through deeper cuts like "Kitchenware & Candybars" and "Where the River Goes" while also mingling at times with each band member. He added, "A majority of songs tonight are from 'Purple' and 'Core,' but some of them are songs that influenced us," before performing a solid cover of Bowie's "The Jean Genie." Many were thrilled just to see Weiland perform, others balked at the covers and STP songs that were somewhat unfamiliar.
The mood on stage was light. When a fan threw a garment on stage, it gave Weiland pause as he looked at it like it could be an explosive device. It gave a brief look inside his head when he jokingly grabbed a towel from the drum riser and gingerly picked it up. When they deemed it a "safe scarf" he spent the next few minutes tying it around guitarist Jeremy Brown. It was moments like this that were golden for the hardcore fans in the crowd, especially in an intimate venue like the House of Blues.
Though there were some hiccups on the night, overall the tour concept is a great idea. The performances should continue to improve as The Wildabouts gel into a tightly-knit machine. There's no doubt that Weiland has the chops, he just needs to improve the flow from start to finish.
Scott Weiland setlist:
The Jean Genie (David Bowie cover)
Kitchenware & Candybars
Where the River Goes
Mountain Song (Jane’s Addiction cover)
Can't Stand Me Now (The Libertines cover)
Interstate Love Song
Roadhouse Blues (The Doors cover)
Sex Type Thing