all words: Rohan Mahadevan
photos by Andy DelGiudice
Scott Weiland‘s “solo” show Monday night at the Howard Theatre is both the easiest and hardest to review show I’ve ever had the pleasure to write about. Scott Weiland is a notorious drugged-out 90’s alt-rock figure that recently got fired from his band The Stone Temple Pilots, though Weiland says it was all a publicity stunt to sell more tickets for his solo gigs.
Billed as the “Purple to the Core” tour, the show was supposed to feature the first two Stone Temple Pilots albums performed in full. In true Weiland form, what fans really got was some tracks from both records, four covers, and one song from Weiland’s last solo record. While it might be sacrilegious that Weiland is running through the back catalog of STP with out even one of the DeLeo bros or even drummer Eric Kretz, it is no different from what Billy Corgan or Art Alexakis is doing, but that is Weiland’s only pass.
The show was an hour and a half lesson in torture. Weiland’s new band, the Walkabouts may be skilled musicians but they play like a cover band that you’d find in any small town dive bar. Hell, even the crowd felt like any given Thursday night in bumfuck nowhere, so The Walkabouts must’ve felt at home.
The night started out fine, with the Walkabouts doing an extended intro before a fully clothed Weiland, on his suit and tie shit, pranced on stage to mumble out a few lines and play with his new toy- a Theremin. Instead of creating distortion the old fashion way, the Theremin served as a replacement. The band then played “Crackerman” from Core with Weiland using a megaphone to aid his still intact vocals. Weiland seemed cordial, considering this tour has already had a fight in NYC, as he took some pictures for fans in the front row and even moved his monitor so the crowd could hear his vocals, but everything after “Crackerman” was a shit-show.
“Wicked Garden” sounded like a bad cover, and don’t even get me started on the updated version of “Creep” which Weiland described as being Flying Burrito Brothers-esque. From what I could tell, I think Weiland thought he was on VH1 Storytellers, as his between song banter gave us glowing nuggets of information about the songs as well as a curious anti-drug speech. The truth is no one is looking at Weiland to be their NA-coach; we just want to hear the hits.
A lot about the show can be summarized by the four covers that were peppered into set. Covering David Bowie is a hard task for many artists, but remember STP always wanted to be a glam rock band. Weiland’s cover of “The Jean Genie” with Wieland’s Axl-Rose rip-off strutting and sub-par stripping was pretty serviceable. Though the crowd was not having it, and refusing to singalong when Weiland tired to get the crowd to sing along, i’d go as far to to call the cover a highlight of the show.
The cover of Jane’s Addiction’s “Mountain Song” like the encore cover of The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues” were pretty messy, but served as a guide to Weiland’s madness. The most oddball of the four covers was a take on The Libertines “Can’t Stand Me Know” with the Walkabout’s bassist playing the Carl Barat to Weiland’s Pete Doherty. One can only think the song was an in-joke aimed at STP, but who knows.
For a show about the “hits” Weiland failed, as his re-imagined versions didn’t strike the same chord as the STP versions. Case in point, the band’s Southern Rock take on “Interstate Love Song” was a travesty. It is no wonder why a third of the audience left after the last song of the set “Vasoline.”
For those who did stay, the band took on “Sex Type Thing” decimating the little bit of goodwill Weiland had left, if any. Even worse, or maybe for the best, Weiland left out STP’s biggest hit “Plush.” While the concept of the show was shaky from the start and the ticket prices were steeper then average, had Weiland stuck to the hits and played it straight, the night might’ve been enjoyable. Then again, this is Scott Weiland we are talking about right?