Yesterday’s Stone Temple Pilots show at Red Rocks literally left frontman Scott Weiland breathless. “The altitude in this place is very interesting,” he wheezed after a sprint across the stage, which sits more than a mile above sea level in Morrison, Colorado. At the opening gig on STP’s first major tour since 2008, it was unclear if Weiland and band, promoting their first new studio album since 2001, were actually pumped to be back on the road.
STP’s set swung from nineties classics like “Plush” and “Vaseline” to new tunes like the anthemic “Between the Lines,” the half-spoken, half-sung “Hickory Dichotomy” and the psychedelic lead single “Cinnamon.” “We haven’t played this since 1995, but that doesn’t date us because we didn’t write it,” Weiland said before kicking into a cover – faithful to the band’s Encomium version – of Led Zeppelin’s “Dancing Days.” Weiland – who wore sunglasses, skinny jeans and a blazer that he later ripped off – waxed nostalgic while introducing another oldie, 1994’s plaintive “Pretty Penny.” “When I wrote this song, I was trying to hide my addiction to a certain thing,” he said, hinting at his notorious bouts with heroin. “Using metaphors as songwriters do, I wrote the lyrics to this song.” Mid-tune, he picked up a pair of maracas to accompany the band.
Despite chugging riffs and fiery guitar solos from Dean DeLeo, the set largely lacked momentum. The moments between songs, when Weiland offered meditations to the crowd, were almost more exciting. “Gatorade tastes so lovely!” he exclaimed after `”Wicked Garden.” Later, he gestured to the stone surrounding the outdoor amphitheatre. “Look at these wonderful rocks here,” he mused. “Just imagine the ancient celebrations that happened among these rocks.”
Still, there were a few electric moments. The show’s high point came during “Plush,” when Weiland held his mic into the audience, prompting a massive singalong. The band kept the momentum going during their encore, which featured a heavy rendition of “Dead & Bloated.” Weiland then brought out his bullhorn, which sent the crowd in a shouting frenzy: “I am smellin’ like a rose that somebody gave me on my birthday deathbed!” Stone Temple Pilots closed the show with “Tripping on a Hole in a Paper Heart,” which Weiland dedicated to the “armed forces overseas.”