For quite a while I considered myself a die-hard Stone Temple Pilots fan. Once the band seemed to splinter off in different directions—mainly as a reaction, I’d assume, to fallout from Scott Weiland’s various troubles with addiction—the love was still there for the music they made together, but for some reason I just didn’t trouble myself with what they were doing separately.
Oh sure, I bought the self-titled Army of Anyone album (featuring Dean and Robert DeLeo, STP’s guitarist and bassist, respectively) and the two Velvet Revolver albums (featuring lead vocalist Scott Weiland). Other than a song or two here and there, they left me reminiscing about a band I loved and a sound I would probably never hear again.
In 2008, however, I was proven wrong and STP set aside their baggage. They actually talked to each other long enough to discover they still enjoyed playing together and went out on tour. Hell, they even managed to record a new album in 2010 and went out on the road again to support it.
Now in 2012, I find myself watching a DVD of one night from that 2010 tour recorded in Chicago, and appropriately titled Alive in the Windy City.
As I was not lucky enough to have STP stop anywhere near me on that tour, this release was something I eagerly looked forward to watching. It was my best chance at seeing whether or not STP was…well, still STP or just a damned good STP cover band going out on the road because that’s what was expected of them.
Refreshingly, they were still STP and then some.
From the moment I dropped the DVD in and pushed play, the chatter of the audience gave way to the rush of the opening guitar riff to “Vasoline”—the band was off and running. If you’re lucky enough to have the space to really crank the volume while playing this, then that rush is two-fold as this is recorded and mastered to play very well when cranked up high.
For the 20 or so times I’ve watched or listened to this in the background as I treadmilled or assaulted my punching bag (okay, was assaulted BY the bag, but still), it never grew tiring. Each day’s listen was just as fresh as the day before and I found myself not skipping over the newer songs such as “Hickory Dichotomy,” “Bagman,” and “Huckleberry Crumble” as I might have during the first half-dozen or so times around.
From the onset I was looking for that STP experience I never got a chance to get before the initially broke up, so I fixated on the songs I knew. This means, of course, that many loud choruses were sung to “Sex Type Thing,” “Wicked Garden,” “Dead and Bloated,” “Vasoline,” and “Crackerman.”
While it’s not the best DVD I’ve ever watched and probably not the best STP performance that’s ever been seen, Alive in the Windy City is a stirring reminder of the power that the band once had and continues to reach for.
If you are even a slight fan of the band then you will greatly enjoy this DVD. I heartily recommend it. For a complete track listing, visit the official Stone Temple Pilots website and click the “Get it on DVD” or “Get it on Blu-ray” links.