Nearly two years after ditching Scott Weiland and hiring Chester Bennington, the Stone Temple Pilots are still going strong as a touring force. Last night saw the band roll through the Diamond Ballroom, Oklahoma City’s favorite metal shed, blasting through a 22-song, two-hour long set.
Easily one of the smallest venues on this current STP routing, and definitely one of the smallest rooms Chester Bennington has performed in in quite some time, the Diamond’s 1000-person (give or take) crowd could hardly wait to hear the band tear through their discography.
While the Stone Temple Pilots (or CheSTP, if you refuse to let the lineup change go) released a new EP after the lineup switch, they are still heavily relying on old material in the live arena. In fact only one song from the EP made the setlist cut (Out of Time), even though it was very well received.
Most of the old standards were here, including a phenomenal non-stop string of Creep, Big Empty and a slow-burning Plush that totally enraptured the audience. Chester even hopped down into the crowd for Plush, bouncing around the barricade and the first few rows of fans. Other favorites like Crackerman, Vasoline, Big Bang Baby and Sex Type Thing rounded out the well-paced setlist.
The band was on fire the entire evening; from Dean’s killer slide guitar work to Rob’s furious bass line on Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart, they were in top form. Chester did well for the duration of the evening, really only struggling with a portion of the aforementioned Trippin’. The rest of Chester’s vocal work was a great fit for the band, all without becoming an imitation of the departed Weiland.
Chester knows how to work a crowd, and it really showed. I didn’t hear any hecklers or overzealous Weiland fans, but if there had been any Chester was working his ass off to prove he could deliver the goods. Throughout the entire evening the crowd chanted “S.T.P, S.T.P” between songs, never once seeming to question the lineup change and instead just enjoying the moment.
The band did dust off a few rarities, including Coma, Pruno and a fantastic take on Adhesive, which found Chester strapping on an acoustic guitar to play with the rest of the guys. These were a nice addition to a setlist that had begun to grow old and stale during the STP reunion tours, and the die-hard fans in the crowd definitely appreciated the change.
The Stone Temple Pilots have been through a lot — a lawsuit, a new vocalist, a name change and an EP. The court cases have been wrapped up, allowing the band to drop the “with Chester Bennington” moniker, but make no mistake – Mr. Linkin Park is very much a part of this band. It seems that Eric Kretz and the brothers DeLeo want nothing more than to leave the image of a Scott Weiland-led STP far in the rearview mirror, and for the most part, they’ve succeeded. It will be up to the band’s fans to decide if this new incarnation of the band is worth following, but make no mistake about it – these guys still kill it live.
Setlist: Lounge Fly, Vasoline, Wicked Garden, Sex Type Thing, Pruno, Crackerman, Coma, Sin, Big Bang Baby, Out of Time, Heavy and Hot Rods, Meatplow, Adhesive, Creep, Big Empty, Plush, Interstate Love Song, Down, Sex & Violence, Trippin’ On a Hole in a Paper Heart, Piece of Pie, Dead & Bloated
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