Apr 26, 2011

Stone Temple Pilots - Pier Six

By Bob Suehs


April 26, 2011

Baltimore, MD

Baltimore's Inner harbor is known as the "tourist" spot where everyone goes to experience the best of what this city has to offer....the area isn't half bad if you avoid the traffic, crime & random crap that happens in every major US city.

In the Summer months the outdoor venues open & located in the middle of the hustlin' city that is Baltimore we have Pier Six Concert Pavilion.

Pier Six is a small outdoor venue, it's located on the waterfront & if you have a boat you can actually watch the show from the water & that's exactly what many people do all Summer in this area....you can actually watch the concerts for free on the adjoining piers as well & you can hear the bands play for atleast a block away...that in a nutshell is the charm & beauty of Pier Six...it's only cool for those who live no where's near it!

I was pleasantly surprised when Grunge superstars Stone Temple Pilots announced a concert date at Pier Six because the band usually plays larger venues, but as it was pointed out to me many times leading up to this show, STP's reputation has taken a hard blow over the past few years due to Scott Weiland's performance quality and what I mean by that is when the man is good he's REALLY good & when he's bad...well, you're lucky if he shows up!

Rose Hill Drive opened this show & at the point when the bands set started they came out rockin' yet the crowd was....still not totally there yet & saying the venue was 1/2 empty was about right...regardless, Rose Hill Drive played a good rock set that mixed stoner rock with classic riffs.

The Rose Hill Drive set was good but they suffered from lack of sound during their set; the venue has good acoustics for an outdoor venue but the bands sound was just not clear & solid.

By the time an hour had passed since Rose Hill Drive's set was completed the venue had filled in pretty decent, there were still a few empty seats & outside you could see ticket scalpers scrambling to cut their losses & sell their tickets for whatever the buyers would pay!

To give you a for instance in regards to how tiny this venue was compared to the normal sized venues STP plays, the large backdrop that STP used was hung up but you couldn't really see more than the top 1/2 because the stage/ceiling was just too low to hang it properly!

STP has done smaller shows over the years, but for this one they really had to alter their stage a bit & what they lacked in production they made up for via a killer, lengthy show!

The band played all the expected tracks like "Wicked Garden", "Sex Type Thing" & "Plush" alongside newer tracks like "Between the Lines" & "Huckleberry.." & there was even a rare Led Zeppelin cover of "Dancin' Days" tossed in as well!

Scott commented that if he was to have a swimming race with Dean in Baltimore's Chesapeake Bay that Scott would win & he said it was because while Dean was learning to play kick ass guitar riffs Scott was spending his time going swimming.

During the set there were various moments where Scott would introduce a song & tell which album it came off of & at those moments it made me realize that STP are essentially a classic rock act because they've been together around 20 years or so and they are a pivotal part of the grunge era even through they are not from Seattle!

Scott was actually looking healthy, he wasn't sickly thin, his hair looked freshly cropped & dyed black which was an exact opposite to Dean DeLeo who had messy waves of hair flowing about while brother Robert DeLeo had an almost painted on thin plot of hair & sunglasses.

The nights encore consisted of "Dead and Bloated" & "Trippin'.." and I'll give it to STP, they played a really tight set, gave the fans what they wanted, they didn't just do the "hits", they covered all the bases pretty well & the only down side to this show being outdoors was the sound quality and what I mean by that is for those who were in the back or the middle of the venue there was a bit of a lackluster sound quality & part of that had to do with the venue while the other part was due to the wind...the cleanest sound was within the first 10 rows of the venue because there you could experience a clean, sharp tone, you could hear all the vocals, all the guitar parts & the dynamics were just better up close!

When the bands set was over the 4 members of the group shook hands, handed out tons o' guitar pics & drum sticks, then Dean exited the stage first while Scott & Robert hammed it up for a few more minutes thanking fans.

What was quite impressive was how fast Scott Weiland left the venue...it was maybe 10 minutes or less after the bands set ended that a car whisked Mr. Weiland off & away from Baltimore city!

There was a joke that they needed to get him away from that area because it was known for drugs!

Dean DeLeo was next to leave & he was taken away in a Cadillac SUV but this is where the night took a funny turn....I interviewed Dean about 4 years prior when he was in town with the band Army of Anyone & I was pleasantly surprised when Dean told his driver to stop the car & he got out of his ride, came over, said to me, "I remember you!" & we caught up briefly on things as he signed a few autographs & took a few pictures with fans.

Dean joked that I hadn't aged a day since that interview while he had aged horribly since then!

Dean made it a point to sign every autograph, take every picture, then he got back into his ride & waived goodbye.

Robert & Eric left on their bus & seeing the band leave in this style made me realize just how much things had changed from the beginning when they used to all leave on the same bus!

Since every STP show is hit or miss, I'd call this one a definite hit!