Revolution Live, Fort Lauderdale
August 24, 2013
Better than: Linkin Park.
There was a sense of urgency at Revolution Live Saturday night. Many came to see Scott Weiland perform because they thought it might be the last time they would have the chance to see him live.
The onetime Stone Temple Pilots/Velvet Revolver frontman's drug and drinking exploits are well-chronicled. Recently, he was booted from a Stone Temple Pilots reunion tour in favor of Linkin Park's singer Chester Bennington. This Fort Lauderdale show was the final date of Weiland's 14-city tour with backing band the Wildabouts, and so far, they'd received mostly atrocious reviews. So the bar was set very low if you came out to see quality musicianship, and very high if you were expecting a train wreck.
First the audience was treated with local act Bobby Lee Rodgers Duo. This guitar and drums combo presented a sunshinnier version of Black Keys blues rock. Throughout their set, they couldn't hide the smiles on their faces as they channeled their inner George Thorogoods. But would their final song's refrain "I think we better warn ya" foreshadow the headliner?
The audience was teased when the curtains opened at 9 p.m., but another opener was revealed. The Last Internationale, a New York hipster trifecta whose influences started and stopped on the letter J in the rock 'n' roll encyclopedia, being as they were led by a Joan-Jett-alike. The Last Internationale were well rehearsed and while the guitarist's showboating will undoubtedly get him laid, his strutting and peacocking took away any danger from their performance, even when they played their best and most chaotic number, "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Indian Blood."
An hour later, the curtains opened again. The Wildabouts, consisting of two guitarists, a bassist, and a drummer, stood onstage. Then, to loud cheers, out sashayed Scott Weiland, dressed smartly in a sports coat and Tom Cruise sunglasses. He looked healthy enough to have just come from a yoga class, but were the long sleeves covering skid marks and the sunglasses, bloodshot eyes?
The voice, at first, was rough. Even with the aid of a bull horn for "Crackerman" you couldn't really hear him. He had some herky jerky dance moves highlighted in silliness as he passed the microphone behind his back from his left to right hand. But slowly, it was revealed the issues with his vocals were merely a technical problem as they went into the first of their four covers, David Bowie's "Jean Genie."
Singing something light-hearted seemed to loosen Scott up. Either that, or the scarf that a roadie and the guitarist helped Weiland tie around his neck had magical powers, because when they jammed to Jane's Addiction's "Mountain Song," his voice hit octaves that would make Perry Farrell proud.
During one of Stone Temple Pilots most beloved songs' "The Big Empty," the Weiland led the crowd in a singalong about LSD hangovers. Except for a weird aside about alligators, Weiland appeared to be of sound enough mind and body to perform for many years to come. So the most disappointed members of the crowd were those who came seeking a catastrophic performance.
Others that might want a refund would be people who thought a Purple At The Core Tour referenced Stone Temple Pilots first two albums, and expected a greatest hits montage. The only singles that he played were the aforementioned "The Big Empty" and "Vaseline." No "Plush," no "Sex Type Thing," no "Interstate Love Song." Weiland instead seemed to relish singing other peoples' songs, including The Libertine's "Can't Stand Me Now" and The Door's "Roadhouse Blues." Perhaps his true plans are to beat the odds, live to a ripe, old age and end up a Las Vegas lounge singer interpreting all the hits for the grunge set.
"Jean Genie" (David Bowie cover)
"Kitchenware and Candybars"
"Where the River Goes"
"Mountain Song" (Jane's Addiction cover)
"The Big Empty"
"Can't Stand Me Now" (The Libertines cover)
"Dead & Bloated"
"Roadhouse Blues" (The Doors cover)