LIVE RECAP: Stone Temple Pilots – 04-24-15 – The Fillmore Silver Spring – Silver Spring, Maryland

Review by Greg Maki
The new version of Stone Temple Pilots, with Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington center stage, replacing the fired Scott Weiland, is a hard sell for some. Others will never accept it, end of story. It’s their loss, because if this show on a Friday night at the sold-out Fillmore Silver Spring is any indication, the band is stronger than it’s been in many years.

Robert DeLeo of Stone Temple Pilots

Bennington doesn’t sound exactly like Weiland, but if you closed your eyes and focused on everything and not just the vocals, the differences were minimal. Then you open your eyes and see a skinny guy with short, pink hair on the mic, and there’s no denying this is STP. Careers often are ruined by changing frontmen, especially if the one replaced is as iconic as Weiland. Some changes are merely preludes to the inevitable reunion. Bennington and STP are and unlikely yet perfect match, and thanks to a recent settlement of the legal issues with Weiland, the band has gone back to billing itself simply as “Stone Temple Pilots” instead of the unwieldy “Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington.”

The two-hour show, the longest I’ve seen STP play since 1996, featured 22 songs, including all the hits and only two post-‘90s tracks (the single “Out of Time” from the 2013 “High Rise” EP and “Coma” from the 2001 release “Shangri-La Dee Da”). And the classics came early, with “Vasoline,” “Wicked Garden” and “Sex Type Thing,” usually reserved for late in the set, played second, third and fourth, respectively. It was no surprise that the band’s debut album, “Core” (1992), was represented most heavily in the set list with eight songs, including encores of “Piece of Pie” and “Dead & Bloated.” Album tracks from “No. 4” (1999)—“Pruno,” “Heaven & Hotrods” and “Sex & Violence”—were pleasant inclusions in the set, as was the rarely played “Adhesive” from “Tiny Music” (1996).

Dean DeLeo of Stone Temple Pilots

Though Bennington naturally drew a lot of attention, the band behind him—the three men whose presence makes this Stone Temple Pilots—was stellar and seemingly happier than they’ve been in quite some time. Bassist Robert DeLeo, in particular, was beaming from the first song to the last. His brother Dean, on guitar, continues to be an underrated star (it’s ironic that one of the bands most closely associated with an era that saw an apparent disregard for musicianship boasts such a talented lead player; the same goes for Alice in Chains), and drummer Eric Kretz brought it all together.

Eric Kretz of Stone Temple Pilots

Stone Temple Pilots in 2015 is not a gimmick and, despite mostly playing songs about 20 years old or older, doesn’t feel like a nostalgia act either. This was one of the best shows to hit the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area in recent memory, and for the first time in a long time, the future looks bright for STP.

SET LIST: “Lounge Fly,” “Vasoline,” “Wicked Garden,” “Sex Type Thing,” “Pruno,” “Crackerman,” “Coma,” “Sin,” “Big Bang Baby,” “Out of Time,” “Heaven & Hotrods,” “Meatplow,” “Adhesive,” “Creep,” “Big Empty,” “Plush,” “Interstate Love Song,” “Down,” “Sex & Violence,” “Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart,” (encore) “Piece of Pie,” “Dead & Bloated”

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