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Concert Reviews:
Scott Weiland Pursues Balance Of Solo, STP At Saint Andrews

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Thursday, January 29, 2009

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DETROIT -- Establishing an identity outside a massively successful band -- much less two -- is as tough for a singer as it is for the band, or bands, to continue without him. Scott Weiland, of Stone Temple Pilots and late of Velvet Revolver, brought that struggle to Saint Andrews Hall on Wednesday night (Jan. 28), striking a precarious balance between his admirably heady creative ambitions and the desire of the crowd to hear his old bands' hits.

The chief virtue of the show was its small hall setting and the ability to really hear the hirsute Weiland really sing his eclectic solo material -- from last fall's "Happy in Galoshes" and 1998's "12 Bar Blues" -- outside the context of his other bands' heavy rocking roar. And, dressed in layered a layered ensemble worthy of J. Crew, he was in good voice and visibly immersed in the trippy, melodic pop flavors of "Paralysis," the Doors-y "Atlanta," "Blind Confusion" and a cover of the Smiths' "Reel Around the Fountain." But the fact of the matter is the energy level of the non-sellout crowd soared when Weiland and his four-piece band dipped into the STP catalog for reluctant renditions of "Vasoline," "Unglued" and "Interstate Love Song" and flagged on the new material -- and especially the several lengthy, momentum-sapping jams that found Weiland playing with a theremin and his creative partner, Doug Grean, leading the band through formless musical meanders.

The group wasn't in synch on the electro-pop songs "Big Black Monster" and "Beautiful Day," either, never quite weaving together the keyboards and electronic percussion with the live instruments. And Weiland's take on David Bowie's "Fame" missed the original's taut tension, sounding clunky and cluttered instead.

The hour-and-40-minute show, opened by the Detroit power pop group the Singles, simply missed any sense of flow, as if Weiland's material was too disparate to hang comfortably together and, in some cases, too arcane to really grab the crowd's attention. He's not the first singer to wage a battle between his own desires and public preferences, but it often felt like Weiland was making it more of a fight than it needed to be.

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