New York Roseland Ballroom

It's a goodbye [b]New York[/b] will never forget...

[a]Stone Temple Pilots[/a] miraculously manage to distract New York tonight for 90 baseball-free minutes. It’s touch and go at first: The pre-show chant is not “STP!” but “Let’s go Mets!” and “Let’s go Yankees!” (the two local teams playing game three of the World Series tonight), and the bar, with its tiny corner TV, is more popular than a keg at a high school party.

“They come to a concert to watch TV,” laughs a bouncer, who, incidentally, is on his way inside to find out the score.

The Pilots say nothing of the goings-on in the outer borough (the game is in Queens). They are too jazzed to be in a city they clearly love, doing what seems to totally invigorate them. Lead singer Scott Weiland tells the crowd that he last time the band performed at Roseland was in 1993 while on tour with the Butthole Surfers. They wore full KISS regalia that night.

For the most part, there is no such posturing this evening. STP stay true to themselves with a steady stream of hits. In fact, tonight’s set reinforces just how many the band has had in the last eight years: ‘Interstate Love Song’, ‘Big Empty’ ‘Wicked Garden’, ‘Plush’ ‘Sex Type Thing’ and ‘Dead and Bloated’. With the exception of ‘Down’, ‘Sour Girl’ and ‘No Way Out’, they barely touch material from 1999’s ‘No. 4’.

For all his troubles with drugs and jail, Weiland still knows what it takes to be a charismatic performer. He slinks around like Spiderman on acid, scaling the sides of the auditorium to get closer to the people. He points his mic outward and lets the crowd sing into it. And he’s chatty, explaining the meanings of songs and how nice it is to be back in New York at a venue that’s not too big.

Things get playfully odd in the encore, when Weiland comes out with a blond wig on top of his red tuft, a black patent leather mini-skirt and bustier, and fishnet stockings. He uses an American flag to wipe his face, ties it around his waste and takes off the skirt. The set ends with ‘Sex Type Thing’,/b> and the band bows, arm in arm. They turn around, the flag drops and it’s a goodbye New York will never forget.

Until someone asks the score.

Mia Quagliarello