After waiting for a good hour after I disappointingly missing openers Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Led Zeppelin's "Good Times, Bad Times" boomed over the largest collection of speakers I've ever seen on the LSA stage and the lights finally went dim. Enter three-fourths of STP, dressed for the event with bassist Robert DeLeo actually in a sport coat variation and brother Dean in some sort of quirky-yet-classy Western shirt. They all saddled up - but still no sight of Scott Weiland. Instantly, my mind went a little nuts as it often does, wondering if Weiland had again fallen off the wagon and was maybe camped out somewhere in between Bend and Seattle (where the band played a headlining slot at Bumbershoot) ingesting whatever substances he could get his hands on. I imagined him sitting in a drainage ditch for some reason - perhaps that's what my generation expects out of Weiland. But then out of the shadows, the red glimmer of a freshly lit cigarette glowed through the darkened stage and there was Mr. Weiland.
With a cowboy hat, scarf, sunglasses, and skin-tight designer jeans, Weiland took one last drag, hacked a sizable chunk of saliva to the side and got the show on the road, manhandling the microphone stand as only Weiland can do as the band got things started with "Big Empty." It was only a few seconds later that, just as my pubescenent eyes saw on November 11, 1996, precisely 4,312 days prior, Weiland hopped up on the monitor speakers and strutted around. And just as I did more than 4,000 days ago in Seattle's Mercer Arena, I, and everyone around me was singing along, without a care of how silly a line like "her dizzy head is conscious laden" sounds. How often do you describe one's head as "conscious laden"? Probably not often.
But nonetheless, the sing-along continued through familiar ditties like "Creep," "Big Bang Baby," "Lady Picture Show" and of course, of course, of course "Plush." Weiland is still heroin-addict skinny (that's just illustrative language and not to be taken literally, OK?) and still arrogant as all hell, dishing out the occasional hip thrust and finger point from his front-of-stage, monitor speaker altar. In this day of modest indie rockers who enjoy themselves on stage, yet have no delusions of hubris, it was strangely refreshing to see the kind of showmanship Weiland brings to the table. Another weird thing about Weiland...he was super tan. You don't see that in a rock star too often.
The venue included seats for the first several rows, stopping any chance of a mosh pit, as was once the norm at an STP show. There seemed to be more than a few testosterone overloaded fans who disagreed with the fence keeping them from getting closer to Weiland and the guys, as a massive contingent gathered around the entrance to the seated area. One aforementioned man-of-men showed his disappointment by hucking a trash can over the fan at a security guard. But for the most part, STP fans have aged to the less aggressive, stand-and-sing-along types, rather than mosh pit enthusiasts.
Damn, I used to love mosh pits.