Where do aging rockstars go? Well, South East Asia seems to be their destination of choice these days. But would years of rock n roll experience (and in some case, rehab and detox) make them better live acts to watch now? Or can nothing top catching them at their drugged-out, hyped up prime?
Singapore has certainly been lucky to have hosted legends such as The Smashing Pumpkins and Sonic Youth in the past. And while you may have gotten a kick watching Billy Corgan trash it out, for better or for worse, as the sole remaining Pumpkin at last year’s SingFest, The Stone Temple Pilots never got the chance to perform in this region during their heydays.
As a band, STP went through numerous break ups ever since 1994’s Purple. However, whether you blamed it on vocalist Scott Weiland getting arrested for possession/moonlighting with Slash/going solo, all was forgiven recently when the Pilots finally landed. And after making us wait for 2 decades, what’s another hour and a half?
Before they got on stage, the crowd were already yelling for STP and also for a rather bad stand-up comic called Sugar Sammy to get off. Then suddenly, the curtains dropped and STP took stage. Scott (who looked like the guy from Powder with a ciggie in his mouth in a smoking-prohibited venue) immediately apologised for the delay. Well we guess they weren’t such bada$$ rockstars in the end. Then Scott shouted, “Thank you and goodnight!” at the end of their 2nd song. People started booing lightly, only to have Scott reply, “Just joking!”
As the band rolled into ‘Vaseline’, the crowd jumped into the recognisable song and sang along. However, we noticed that STP were playing most of their songs slower and shortening them, taking out some verses and bridges. Perhaps they were a bit tired from performing in Jakarta the night before.
Scott then showed his softer side when he requested for the audience to observe a moment of silence for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. “I have a brother living there. I lost one already, don’t want to lose another,” he said emotively.
The band continued with the first single off their new self-titled album. ‘Between The Lines’ was fast and furious and had a very Nirvana-ish bridge. It was almost like a Velvet Revolver song covered by STP. They must have felt proud about the new album (their first since 2001’s Shangri-La Dee Da) considering they covered quite a lot of material from it, including Scott’s personal favourite ‘Hickory Dichotomy’.
It was their older stuff that felt unrehearsed. ‘Superman Silvergun’ began with a confusing start. Scott went “One… Two… GO!” and the band went silent, missing the queue to start. It wasn’t all that bad as the highlight of the show was when they played ‘Plush’ and ‘Interstate Love Song’ back to back. The Crow soundtrack favourite ‘Big Empty’ and ‘Big Bang Baby’ were awesome as well. Lighters went up, spirits and people cheered. It was like 1994 all over again.
Although they didn’t do all their hits like ‘Sour Girl’ and ‘Lady Picture Show’, they did put on a good encore with ‘Dead and Bloated’ and ‘Tripping on a Hole in a Paper Heart’. As STP finally took a bow, we focused on Scott’s face. We kinda knew what he was thinking at that point, which was the same thing we were thinking, “Better late than never”.
The Stone Temple Pilots rocked Big Night Out @ Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday 11 March 2010. Fly stoned at our gallery.
Image Amos Wong for LAMC Productions