Stone Temple Pilots are set to release their first-ever live concert DVD/Blu-Ray this week featuring a blend of the bands’ greatest hits with new material from their 2010 self-titled album. Alive in the Windy City sees STP filmed in front of an adoring Chicago crowd in state-of-the-art high-definition, and recorded in DTS-HD Master Audio and LPCM Stereo for a great home theatre concert experience.
The band has certainly had their ups and downs since breaking big twenty years ago with the release of Core, which produced the singles “Sex Type Thing”, “Plush”, “Creep” and “Wicked Garden”. Although based in San Diego, California, STP has often been lumped-in with the early 90’s Seattle grunge movement, but I’ve always considered the band more glam/hard rock than alternative or grunge. There have also been countless challenges with frontman Scott Weiland’s ongoing propensity for drugs and alcohol related transgressions during STP’s rise.
Despite the fact that Stone Temple Pilots haven’t had a major hit since the late-90’s and that side-projects and outside drama have received more headlines than their music in recent years, there’s no denying that STP is a solid rock band when firing on all cylinders. Brothers Robert DeLeo (bass) and Dean DeLeo (guitar) give STP on incredibly big sound filled with massive riffs and hooks that form the backbone of their best work. Their incredibly interlocked playing is on full display on this release and is reminiscent of how Pete Townsend and John Entwistle of The Who wove power chords and bass lines together to create their signature sound. Drummer Eric Kretz keeps it all together with his steady playing, but it’s Weiland who makes the Pilots a force to be reckoned with as a live band.
In spite of the years of wear-and-tear from substances and performing live, Weiland’s voice is in excellent condition and he’s able to deliver spot-on vocals on all of the band’s biggest hits. He’s also an incredibly visual performer as he slithers and snakes his way across the stage to the rhythm of the songs while connecting with the audience for sing-alongs at all the right moments. Other than perhaps Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, I’m not sure there’s a better pure frontman in rock ‘n’ roll over the last 20 years than Weiland. I’ve seen him live twice (once with STP and once fronting Velvet Revolver) and he is a modern-day combination of Mick Jagger and Axl Rose when it comes to working the stage and working a crowd.
The other thing that stuck out to me was just how many great songs the Pilots have released over the years. From “Plush” and “Interstate Love Song” to “Big Empty” and “Vasoline” the Stone Temple Pilots have a catalogue that stands up against any act to come out of the 90’s. Even some of the newer material, like 2010’s “Between The Lines”, has the signature STP sound featuring the DeLeo’s riffing and Weiland’s growling vocals.
While the bonus interview footage on the DVD/Blu-Ray isn’t overly exciting or revealing as it’s your standard questions about recording, song writing and getting the band back together with fairly standard responses, Alive In The Windy City is definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of STP or if you’ve never had the chance to experience the band live.