When so many of a band’s songs are singles, how do they play a set that isn’t full of radio hits?
This isn’t necessarily a bad problem, but it’s a situation Stone Temple Pilots ran into Saturday night at MGM Grand. That, and the somewhat strange manner of frontman Scott Weiland.
Their set ran the gamut, with everything from their 1992 release “Core” to 2010’s self-titled album (from which the stage decor still drew their artistic motif). The track list was, to quote many a radio promo, nothing but the hits.
Scott Weiland romped onto the stage like an agent of The Matrix for several songs, before shedding sunglasses and suit jacket in favor of a simple shirt and tie office ensemble. He slithered and jived across the stage with ease, a signature dance style falling somewhere between those of Ian Curtis and Michael Jackson.
Weiland’s interaction with the crowd between songs was limited and, well, interesting.
There seemed to be something slightly off, with words slowly spoken and heavily slurred. His longest banter was near the set’s beginning, when he rambled about a fear of mispronouncing “Mashantucket.”
Other inter-song commentary included “Alright, this is your party,” and “You may have heard of ‘Tiny Music… Songs From The Vatican Gift Shop.’ This song is on that album.”
At one point a concertgoer caught Weiland’s attention saying he had seen Stone Temple Pilots forty times. The singer responded by insisting the fan needed a set list. Fumbling for one near the drum kit, both a roadie and guitarist Dean DeLeo rushed to his aid, though by that time Weiland found the prize.
One concert goer remarked “He looks like he came from the office and is doing drunk karaoke.” This description was not entirely inaccurate.
The singer’s difficult battle with addiction has been well chronicled through the years. There are certainly no assumptions being made, and this is a judgement free zone. But hopefully ‘drunk’ was all he’s been flirting with.
Actual song performances were just fine, and the brothers DeLeo plus drummer Eric Kretz were tight. Weiland’s voice was strong and accurate for the most part, save for “Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart,” which closed their regular set. The band slowed down just enough to pull the singer along before smoothly returning to speed for DeLeo’s solo, then slowing back down for a final chorus.
“Unglued” and “Sex Type Thing” filled out their encore.