Saturday, July 28, 2012

Stone Temple Pilots - Alive In The Windy City

Stone Temple Pilots
Alive In The Windy City
Eagle Vision/Eagle Rock Entertainment Ltd./Shock Entertainment

It’s hard to believe that after twenty years together, San Diego (California, U.S.) based hard rock outfit Stone Temple Pilots have never released a live D.V.D. outside some scattered bits of footage from throughout the years on the D.V.D. that accompanied their greatest hits package ‘Thank You’ from 2003. Whatever reason for the lengthy delay of available live footage, Stone Temple Pilots (Who comprise of vocalist Scott Weiland, guitarist Dean DeLeo, bassist Robert DeLeo and drummer Eric Kretz) have finally given fans what they’ve been asking for in the form of ‘Alive In The Windy City’.
Recorded in front of a sold out audience at Chicago’s Rivera Theatre on March 27th in 2010 – ‘Alive In The Windy City’ showcases a rock solid live performance from Stone Temple Pilots at the start of their comeback tour in support of their as then unreleased sixth album ‘Stone Temple Pilots’ (Which was eventually released in late May, some two months after this show was recorded). Having seen the band live once before (On their debut visit to Australia in 2011), and being downright disappointed with what I witnessed (The band rocked, but Weiland let the band down with his autopilot performance), I can’t say that I was holding out for anything astounding with this release.
But contrary to my expectations, ‘Alive In The Windy City’ was a whole lot better than I expected, and show that despite the issues behind the scenes, Stone Temple Pilots can still put on a great show.
Set list wise, ‘Alive In The Windy City’ is virtually a greatest hits live set, which is not surprising given that this is the first official D.V.D. release from the band. Tracks from all of the band’s albums are represented on the eighteen tracks offered up (Running for a total of seventy-seven minutes), including four from their as yet unreleased self-titled album.
In terms of performance, Stone Temple Pilots appear to be in top form here. Sure, the band is getting on these days, but you would be hard pressed to know it for the most part. Of course, Weiland is still the weak link in the band’s chain, with his vocals wavering a little in certain places (Particularly on ‘Creep’, ‘Lounge Fly’ and ‘Interstate Love Song’ where he has a little sustaining the notes), but I can’t complain given that when I saw them live, Weiland’s performance was well below what I had hoped for a band making their first appearance in front of Australian audiences.
The lighting, projection screen shots/visuals and camera angles definitely help enhance the band’s show in a big way, and help maintain the live feel of the D.V.D., and Weiland’s occasional banter with the crowd between the songs (Not to mention his snake like dancing throughout) also adds a human element to the show (Something that was virtually nonexistent when I saw them live).
Every song played here is played admirably, but those performances that really stand out as highlights include the opener ‘Vasoline’, ‘Crackerman’, ‘Hollywood Bitch’, ‘Between The Lines’, ‘Plush’, ‘Sex Type Thing’, ‘Dead And Bloated’ and ‘Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart’.
In regards to extras, well things aren’t quite as impressive. The fifteen minute ‘Interviews’ segment is primarily a promotional vehicle for their upcoming self-titled album, which was previously made available as part of the iTunes deluxe edition of the self-titled album. So while the extras are promoted as something new, they’ve actually been around for some time. What makes it worse is that the interviews seem to be stilted and almost painful (Almost like they didn’t want to be there – Especially Kretz, who doesn’t say a word throughout), making it hard to enjoy.
Personally, I would have loved to have seen some newly filmed interview footage filmed for the D.V.D., and some more obscure tracks making their way into the set list for diehard fans.
But for what it is, ‘Alive In The Windy City’ is a solid D.V.D. release, and should appease those who have been waiting for a proper live Stone Temple Pilots show to make its way to D.V.D.

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© Justin Donnelly

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