Stone Temple Pilots at The TLA

There are certain songs by certain bands that can instantly teleport you back to your childhood when you hear them. Such is the case for us with much of the Stone Temple Pilot’s catalog, especially tracks off of their early albums ‘Core’ (1992) and ‘Purple’ (1994). After the band dismissed lead singer Scott Weiland permanently in 2013, we thought we would never have a chance to hear our beloved anthems performed live ever again. Then something unexpected happened: the band got a new lead singer, Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington. We’re also big fans of Linkin Park but we wondered just how Bennington’s vocals would mesh with the Stone Temple Pilots sound.

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On Thursday, April 30th, we got our answer as Stone Temple Pilots hit the TLA on South Street for a sold-out performance. With the dual excitement of seeing Bennington perform with STP for the first time, as well as seeing them perform in one of Philly’s more intimate venues, we were downright giddy leading up to showtime. The venue was packed when we arrived around 845pm, 30 minutes before STP was scheduled to take the stage. After some brief announcements from WMMR’s Pierre Robert, STP took the stage to a loud roar of cheers.

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It became clear from the outset that STP had not altered its persona to match that of Bennington, but the other way around. The new front man was clearly at home with his new band-mates. STP opened with ‘Lounge Fly’ before diving into three of our most beloved tracks, ‘Vasoline’, ‘Wicked Garden’, and ‘Sex Type Thing’. The energy on stage, the enthusiasm and awe of the crowd, and the connection between the band and their fans was palpable. It’s been a long time since we have heard fans cheer that loudly for a band. There is something uniquely special about seeing a band with so much presence play a small room.

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The cheers only seemed to get louder the deeper STP got into their 20 song set which included many old hits (i.e. ‘Interstate Love Song’) with some of their newer material (i.e. ‘Out of Time’) sprinkled in. We’d be remiss to say that we wanted this show, this night, this experience to go on indefinitely, but alas, all good things must come to and end. After departing the stage, STP returned to another downright loud ovation to play a two song encore, ending with another one of our favorite songs, ‘Dead and Bloated’.

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Nothing will ever fully replace the original sound of STP with Scott Weiland from the mid 1990’s. However, Stone Temple Pilots version 2.0 comes damn near close. Long live Rock N’ Roll.

[Photo credit: D. Jacob Miller Photography]

[Article by David Miller]

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