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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Stone Temple Pilots @ The Marcus Amphitheater

Friday, July 4 @ the Marcus Amphitheater

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How out of it was Scott Weiland during his July 4 concert with the reunited Stone Temple Pilots? It’s tough to measure. On one hand, it’s doubtful the singer could have passed a field sobriety test. He slurred his way through between-song banter, often taking long pauses before aborting his attempted sentences. He still struck his flamboyant rock-star poses, but struggled to keep his balance. He also had difficulty working his megaphone, at one point angrily whipping it to the ground. Presumably, he couldn’t have recited the ABCs backward.

But it’s also possible that after years of substance abuse, this is now just Weiland’s natural, slightly fried state. And wasted or not, Weiland was more than able to fulfill his frontman duties (at least the ones that didn’t require speaking). His voice in fine form, he strutted across the stage, rallying the audience while the band played designated driver to his spaced-out entertainer.

As if to avoid the potential pratfalls that arise when Weiland deviates from script, the band recycled the same, hit-laden set that they’ve clung to all tour, but Weiland did manage to slip in a few holiday-appropriate additions. He took the stage draped in an American flag (an accessory that he ultimately stripped off, like every other dandyish layer of clothing that adorned his torso). He also gave an ineloquent speech about our freedom to enjoy a rock ’n’ roll concert, and for the encore, he invited a uniformed Navy sailor on stage to accompany him on, of all songs, “Dead and Bloated.” Weiland was sincere in his patriotic intentions, but a more clear-headed entertainer might have considered how easily these displays could be misconstrued as satire.