"Good to see you again," said a casual Scott Weiland on Saturday, as if delivering a greeting to an intimate cocktail party rather than 30,000 people in a soccer stadium. Luckily, the feeling was mutual as the newly reunited Stone Temple Pilots headlined the first night of the Rock on the Range festival in Columbus, Ohio Saturday night, their first full-scale show together in nearly eight years.
Opening with the sleepy Purple single "Big Empty," the tone of the show was more subdued than most of the previous bands on the bill, especially Disturbed, who went on just before STP and whipped the crowd into a mosh-happy frenzy. The crowd surfing, at least, made a late night come back at STP followed the opener with harder rocking fare like Core's "Wicked Garden" and Tiny Music...'s "Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart."
With a cigarette in his mouth and a dapper three-piece suit hanging off his slight frame, Weiland, joined by bassist Robert DeLeo, guitarist Dean DeLeo and drummer Eric Kretz, led the crowd on a tour of the band's greatest hits, including "Creep," "Plush," "Interstate Love Song" and "Sour Girl," each providing enough of a sing-along to compensate for the relative lack of edge that most of the crowd seemed to crave and reminded everybody within earshot that this band was built for massive arena-ready singles.
By the time the night was over and the band launched into an encore of "Dead and Bloated," Weiland had ditched his jacket, vest, tie, hat and the buttons on his shirt, propelling him into full rock-god mode, a return to form just in time for the 60-some shows yet to come. He was clearly glad to be back, and the crowd was happy to have him.