Stone Temple Pilots : Toronto Edge 102 Studios

A smack-free Scott Weiland leads his band through an acoustic set, a warm-up before they tour with Staind in the autumn...

With the heroin soap opera behind him, Scott Weiland and his unit are getting geared up for the road, headlining the Family Values Tour with Staind this fall. There is also talk about a live album from the previous tour and a ‘behind the scenes’ video recorded during the making of album number five. Tonight though, in the friendly confines of a walk-in radio station, the first of not one, not two, but three days of promotion in Toronto begins with an acoustic concert and required DJ Q & A. At the onset, it hard to distinguish which segment if any the group is psyched for.

Sitting between bassist Robert DeLeo and drummer/bongo smacker Eric Ketz, Weiland looks quite ordinary in his dark shades and Clouseau chapeau. But the opening ‘Days Of The Week’, from ‘Shangri-La Dee Da’ (whose title is derived from the Flintstones cartoon series), is stale. It’s obvious the meaty hook can’t be created unplugged, leaving Weiland to become a horrid soft pop clone. Does anyone remember The Rembrandts?

As approximately 100 fans rub shoulders inside, and dozens outside keep their noses pressed to the glass, Stone Temple Pilots hit oil with ‘Vasoline’ and ‘Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart’. Done quickly between commercial breaks, the band slowly warms to the crowd and the connection is made. After some liner jackets, parking tickets, setlists, dollar bills and sneakers are signed, the band chat about Weiland’s gender bending attire (dubbed as “Bjorn Bjork”) and Glen Campbell, who sat in on some sessions. Yes, that’s old country Glen Campbell!

Originally scheduled for three songs, the show supposedly wraps up strongly with ‘Interstate Love Song’. But the band keeps chugging on, to the delight of fans and horror of radio programmers everywhere. ‘Sour Girl’ and ‘Plush’ are thrown in for good measure before the DJ pleads with them for a commercial break. “Thank you for coming, have a safe and enjoyable evening,” Weiland says with the last swig from a water bottle. If the start weren’t so safe, it would’ve been more enjoyable.

Jason MacNeil