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Concert Reviews:
Creed Fans Open Arms Wide For Band's Return

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Wednesday, August 26, 2009

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Much has changed in the six years since Creed last toured.

But not much about the band has.

Save for frontman Scott Stapp's shaved head -- which makes him look like actor Jake Gyllenhaal in the military drama "Jarhead" -- and the fact there were still tickets to be had for the once instant-sellout band's show Tuesday night (Aug. 25) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre -- Creed was the same earnest, emotive, angsty and loud group it's been since 1997's "My Own Prison" made it a platinum concern. Over the course of 95 minutes and 17 songs it delivered the sound of Led Zeppelin colliding with grunge, a set of sludgy, down-key anthems with enough melodic heft to occasionally intersect with the mainstream pop world.

The locale gave Tuesday's show had a bit more impact than just Creed's reunion, of course. Detroit was one of the first cities to support the Florida-formed band, and Stapp noted before "Full Circle" -- the rootsy title track to Creed's new album, which comes out Oct. 27 -- that "tonight we've come full circle, not only within ourselves but with you here in Detroit.

And it was a homecoming of sorts for guitarist Mark Tremonti, who spent part of his life in Grosse Pointe and named his other band, Alter Bridge, after the portion of roadway connecting the suburb to the city of Detroit. Noting the connection, Stapp dedicated "My Sacrifice," which closed the main set, to Tremonti's father, who was in attendance.

The rest of the pyrotechnics-laced show was right out of the Creed playbook, a testament to the fact that the material on the band's three previous studio albums were of a timeless enough quality that they still hold up even after a long absence. Stapp, whose voice carried just a hint of hoarseness, stalked the stage and a short ramp jutting from its front like a scowling hard rock evangelist, bellowing songs such as "Bullets," "Ode," "Say I," "Never Die" and "What If" to the heavens. The instrumentalists, led by Tremonti and bolstered by touring second guitarist Eric Friedman, locked comfortably in the pocket of the tunes with just a hint of tightness until they visibly loosened up during "My Sacrifice" and, subsequently, in the encores -- particularly the buoyant "One" and the show-closing "Higher."

And Creed's new single, the charging "Overcome," fit well with the more familiar fare that surrounded it.

It remains to be seen how Creed's hiatus will affect the group as a sales force; suffice to say that few are expecting the same eight consecutive week run at No. 1 that the group enjoyed with 2001's "Weathered." But those at DTE certainly concurred with Stapp when he sang "I believe there is something left for you and me" during Tuesday's encores.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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