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Jeff Gutt homecoming sparks Revolution 3 show at Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre
STERLING HEIGHTS -- The Revolution 3 Tour is designed as a blast from the past -- from the 90s and, in the case of British rockers The Cult, the 80s.
But Tuesday night’s, July 24, show in the Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill really belonged to a new face in one of the veteran bands.
It was a triumphant homecoming for Jeff Gutt, the Michigan native and longtime Mount Clemens resident who was named Stone Temple Pilots’ new singer last November. From local media hype to congratulatory billboards the night belonged to Gutt; Cult frontman Ian Astbury even gave the newbie him a couple of grudging shout-outs during his band’s set, though he (purposely?) mispronounced Gutt’s last name.
And the occasion was certainly not lost on Gutt as he performed STP’s hour-long set before family -- including his 10-year-old son Talon -- and friends. “It’s good to be home,” he said early in the show, adding shortly after that “I consider all of you guys to be like family to me for all the years I played around here...There’s so many people here who helped me. I appreciate you all.” Towards the end of set Gutt -- who’s switched his hair back to its original dark hew after going blonde when he joined STP -- declared the night “a really great moment for me” and thanked the sold-out “for making this night so special.”
He also announced that “party’s at mom’s house afterwards,” though STP was in reality headed straight to its next tour stop.
All that love would have been for naught if Gutt didn’t deliver, but that was not an issue from his first growled lines of “Wicked Garden.” Sporting a black jacket, white shirt and shades, Gutt presented himself as the perfect heir to STP’s late Scott Weiland, hitting all the right vocal notes and channeling just enough of his predecessor’s lithe, sometimes balletic stage presence to be familiar but not merely a slavish imitation. Rolling through the hits-heavy dozen-song set, Gutt was an undeniable force whose commanding delivery made his renditions of “Dead Bloated,” “Big Empty,” “Vasoline” and a somewhat over-arranged “Plush” much more than mere recitations of favorite hits.
And songs such as “Meadow” and “Roll Me Under” from this year’s self-titled album, STP’s first with Gutt, made a convincing statement that the quartet has every intention to build upon rather than rest on its formidable, multi-platinum laurels.
The Gutt homecoming only gave a bit of extra oomph to an already loaded night for rock fans. The Revolution 3 concept proved a winner; An hour set for each of the tri-headliners -- also including Bush, with Julien-K opening -- meant there was little room for muss, fuss and filler, resulting in a breathless troll through some hit-filled song catalogs. That was certainly the case for Bush, which played two of its biggest singles -- “Machinehead” and “Everything Zen” -- within the first three songs of its portion of the evening and reminded fans how deep its hit parade runs with the likes of “Swallowed,” “Glycerine” and “Comedown.”
A muscular version of the Beatles’ “Come Together” was a welcome surprise, while Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, sporting a Gotham City tank top and a compression sleeve on his right arm, got the night’s up-close and personal award during “Little Things” by running all the way to the lawn and pressing plenty of flesh before returning to the stage.
The Cult’s set was a winner, too, though Astbury seemed initially displeased with the crowd response, chiding that 2012’s “Elemental Light” “wasn’t that long ago.” Nevertheless he was in fine voice and tambourine-shaking, shamanistic form as guitarist Billy Duffy laced biting solos throughout favorites such as “Sweet Soul Sister,” “She Sells Sanctuary,” “Fire Woman” and “Love Removal Machine.” The Cult did dig a bit deeper than its tour cohorts for songs such as “Wild Flower,” “Rise” and “The Phoenix,” while a stripped-down rendition of “Edie (Ciao Baby)” was a highlight of the entire night.
All of that made the Revolution 3 a loud ‘n’ proud celebration of past but still potent glories -- and a way to make a local boy part of a rich legacy that he’ll hopefully help to build upon.
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