Only a couple of years ago, the future of Stone Temple Pilots looked pretty grim, but the band that emerged from a year-long court case is stronger than its ever been. In a recent interview with Live Nation, guitarist Dean DeLeo stated, “There’s no comparison. It’s like talking about the strength of a 2-year-old baby compared to a professional body builder. I’ll tell you this man, Robert, Eric and I are really fortunate. We’re having the time of our lives right now. We really feel like this has been a rebirth.”
It was that fun attitude Stone Temple Pilots brought with them to Montclair, NJ this past Saturday, April 25th. Fronted by Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, now acting as full time vocalist for STP, the band kicked off the night in full throttle with “Lounge Fly” and rolled right into “Vasoline” and “Wicked Garden” with hardly a moment’s pause. Despite an ankle injury earlier this year that forced Linkin Park to cancel their tour, Bennington–sporting a shock of bright pink hair, dark sunglasses, and clad in all-white denim–appeared to be back on his game. He’s a seamless fit and the chemistry was obvious to see as he made his way across the stage, interacting with brothers Dean (guitars) and Robert DeLeo (bass). In much the same manner that I have witnessed at Linkin Park performances, Bennington hopped off the stage during the first verse of “Plush” to greet the crowd. It was hardly a quick visit, though. Fans waving phones reached to grab the frontman as he scaled each barricade step, singing among the audience until the very end of the song.
It’s not uncommon for a band to lose its following after a change in vocalists, but if anyone in the audience had any misgivings going into the show Saturday night, I’d say those concerns were quickly put to rest. STP played a massive 22-track set (including a 2 song encore), spanning two solid hours, but nothing brought more joy to the all-ages crowd packed in tight at the historic theater than the run of classic songs toward the end. And although the house sound was cranked up to the point of drowning out some of Bennington’s vocals early on, by the time favorites like “Creep,” “Big Empty,” “Plush,” “Interstate Love Song,” and “Sex & Violence” came along, the tone had been fixed and the band sounded flawless.
Stone Temple Pilots will have one last stop on this spring tour in Philadelphia on April 30th. From there, it’s back to the studio to wrap up work on their first full album with Bennington, which they hope to have out late 2015 or early 2016.
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Review and Photos by Ana Santos | @acsantosnj