Vector Arena, 26 March 2011
Although lead singer Scott Weiland has performed in New Zealand before – as front man for Velvet Revolver – Kiwi fans had been waiting forever to see Stone Temple Pilots perform in Aotearoa. It was poetic that their last show for their recent world tour, finished with their first ever New Zealand performance at Auckland’s Vector Arena.
Vector Arena was by no means full, with the upper half of the seated area curtained off. Those with standing tickets were definitely an eclectic bunch of fans.
You know you are at an old school concert when you are standing behind a man in his early 50’s, dressed in black, with a mullet (although going bald on top), playing air guitar in his own little world. His group also included a bleached blond wearing ‘ugg’ boots and a fringed jacket, plus a late 40’s woman wearing a floor length velvet dress. I tell you, it was like something out of Outrageous Fortune.
I was also surprised that there were many fans in their 20’s, including my little sister and her friends – one of which had travelled 5 hours by bus just to see her high school crush – Scott Weiland. I’d like to think that I had some influence in their great taste in music.
Given Scott Weiland’s substance abuse history, he certainly looked well, sporting ensemble of striped shirt, bomber jacket, aviators and a scarf. I’m not sure if it is part of his rehab, but the Tai Chi like moves he performed on stage were very … interesting, but then he’s always danced a bit like a snake being charmed, waving wildly from the hips.
The music was unbelievably awesome. Much to the delight of the crowd, Weiland pulled out a megaphone to complete his performance of Big Empty and Sex Type Thing. The band played plenty of my favourites from both 1992 album Core, and Purple (1994). The highlights for me were Wicked Garden (footage taken by jonnyfootballhero), Interstate Love Song, Vasoline and their encore performance of Dead and Bloated (where Weiland arrived on stage covered in a blanket, sporting his trusty megaphone). You can view the full set list here.
The band embraced and bowed at the end of their performance, which is not something you see very often by a rock band. This concert was a long time coming, but well received by an enthusiastic New Zealand crowd.
The only let down of the evening was opening act Head Like A Hole. I was one of the lucky ones who received Ticketmaster’s update email, sent only 2 hours before the show, advising that HLAH would be taking to the stage earlier than previously advertised. Having never seen them perform live before, I made sure I arrived in time, but was sorely disappointed at their lacklustre performance.
In a nutshell: Stone Temple Pilots are complete old school rock stars. Loved every minute of it!