DETROIT -- A subtle ripple of concern sifted through the crowd on Tuesday night (June 3) before Stone Temple Pilots took the stage for the first of two shows at the Fillmore Detroit.
There were stories of Guns 'N Roses-style delays at shows in New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. The New York Times panned the former shows. The vibe was that the much-anticipated reunion of the multi-platinum '90s rock troupe, which had been dormant since 2002, wasn't getting any traction.
But that was apparently another band -- or STP's evil twin -- because on Tuesday the quartet simply blew away the Fillmore crowd with an energized and dynamic one-hour and 40-minute show that reminded all just how potent STP could be.
The hits just kept coming throughout the 19-song set, starting -- surprisingly -- on a subtle note with the slinky, languid "Big Empty" before STP kicked into the molten groove of "Wicked Garden" and the one-two glam rock punch of "Big Bang Baby" and "Silver Gun Superman." Frontman Scott Weiland, whose battles with substance abuse derailed STP several times over the years, looked healthy and seemed intensely engaged with a burgundy fedora atop his blonde coif and countenance of well-posed presence replacing the frenetic hydrofoil style he presented in recent years with Velvet Revolver. Weiland prowled the stage front throughout the show, climbing onto the stage left speakers at one point (and looking like he might just jump into the crowd) and hopping into the security barrier at another.
Alongside Weiland, brothers Dean (guitar) and Robert (bass) DeLeo and drummer Eric Kretz played with renewed ferocity and understated virtuosity that carried everything from the droning grind of "Lounge Fly" and the near-metal of "Sin" to the psychedelic arrangements of "Lady Picture Show" and "Sour Girl" and the riffy drive of "deep cuts" such as "Too Cool Queenie" and "Coma."
It was mostly a night for celebrating STP's array of rock radio favorites, however, and the band didn't disappoint with a parade of favorites that included "Vasoline," "Creep," a forceful rendition of "Plush" (preceded by a tease of Kiss' "Detroit Rock City"), "Interstate Love Song," "Down" and "Sex Type Thing." A super-sized light show, with a massive and constantly used LED screen at the rear of the stage, only added to the Big Rock Show flavor.
Weiland also portrayed the concert -- which included a 40-minute opening set by Ashes Divide, the new band led by A Perfect Circle's Billy Howerdel -- as a bit of a community service exercise. Referencing the Detroit Red Wings' heartbreaking loss in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, he told the 3,000 fans at the beginning of the show that "we're hear to help your hangover from the dreaded defeat last night at the hockey game...Maybe this'll make it feel a little bit better."
It certainly didn't hurt.
Some tickets remain for Wednesday's (June 4) STP show at the Fillmore, with Billy Boy Poison opening, at $59.50 and $49.50. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Call (313) 961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.
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