Monday, August 27, 2012

Revisiting Grunge Rock in 2011: Stone Temple Pilots Live in Manila!

March 9, 2011

It is exam week for the kids, so it was tutor time last night. By 9pm though, my son was done studying and was asleep already.  My mind was racing.  Will I do it? Can I still make it to the Stone Temple Pilots concert at the Araneta Coliseum?  Why not try?!?! Luckily, the traffic that night was not that bad, and so was the parking situation in Cubao. General Admission was SOLD OUT!  Wow! This concert certainly sold better than I thought. Got into the main theater area just past 9:40 pm.   The grunge spirit is obviously still very much alive in Manila, based on the audience turn out last night!

Of course, the concert was already underway.  I was met by a wall of music that was very loud with a pounding bass that was vibrating the whole place.  The scintillating lighting effects were exceptional!  The ageless Scott Weiland was ripping through a song I did not immediately recognize (turned out to be "Crackerman").  I do not know how much of the concert I had already missed.  And once settled in, Scott began to sing "Wicked Garden"  (VIDEO) already!  This was one of the songs I was looking forward to, and I am glad I did not miss it. Immediately following was another hit, "Vasoline" (VIDEO)!

After these huge hits, I was not very familiar with the next songs like "Heaven and Hotrods," "Between the Lines" (the first single from their latest album), "Hickory Dichotomy," and "Still Remains."  However, the catchy rock hooks were really there.  The rough and strong vocals of Scott Weiland were as vital as ever.  This was a band that definitely did not lose their fire over the years.  They even cranked up the decibels of the already very loud volume in the middle of the concert!

The next song "Big Empty" (VIDEO) was very familiar, with its haunting coda "Conversations kill..".  But it was followed by two more songs that I did not know "Dancing Days" and "Silvergun Superman."  

There was a short lull where the band began to play some psychedelic sounds on their guitar and Scott writhing on midstage.  Then suddenly, the opening chords of "Plush"  (VIDEO) began to play!  Pandemonium in the coliseum!  Everyone was singing along to the all-too-familiar lyrics!  "When the dogs begin to smell her..." and all that.  Following that, it was straight to another big hit "Interstate Love Song" (VIDEO)! "Waiting on a Sunday afternoon ..." Again, it was another sing-along fest with the audience.  Great song!

After this high, they sang "Huckleberry Crumble," "Down" and "Sex Type Thing" (VIDEO). That last one is familiar to me.  He even uses a megaphone to give additional sound effects to his vocal. "Sex Type Thing" is the debut single of STP off their debut album "Core" back in 1992. Everyone in the house was headbanging, including me.  Can't help it. This music is badass as it gets!  Then as STP traditionally used it as their closing song, they left the stage after performing it.

Of course, as with other concerts, the audience was clamoring for more.  I was only hoping they would sing one more song which was "Dead and Bloated" (VIDEO) (I know, those who know me might be surprised.)  And when Scott and company came back out on stage bathed with intense stage lights, he began to sing " I am smellin' like the rose That somebody gave me on my birthday deathbed..."  Amazing, exactly the song I was wishing for!  Their next encore number was another rocker "Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart." 

After that, that was it. The four members of the band (Scott Weiland, Robert and Dean DeLeo and Eric Kretz) went center stage and actually took bows.  I certainly did not expect such formality from a rock band.

When I got to the car, I could not hear the car radio for some time.  Haha!  I was still having some transient noise-induced hearing impairment secondary to the high decibel volume of sound in the Coliseum that night.  I do not remember a louder concert before.  When I got home and saw the setlist, I saw that "Wicked Garden" was only the second song of the concert.  So I actually caught the beginning of the concert after all and did not miss anything but the front act (Sino Sikat?).  

I am glad to have taken this plunge to catch the Stone Temple Pilots live in concert.  The last time I was in such a loud head-banging hard-core rock concert was way back in 1995 when I was at the Folk Arts Theater backstage watching Pearl Jam led by the enigmatic Eddie Vedder!  Last night after 15 years, I finally completed my dream grunge rock concert series. Very happy.

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