Fans got a ‘pleased to meet you’ from new lead singer Chester Bennington on Tuesday night, September 10th, when he took the stage at The Paramount (QRO venue review) in Huntington, NY with Stone Temple Pilots, starting the night off just right with opener “Down” from STP’s fourth album, No. 4. Bennington, of Linkin Park fame, replaces Scott Weiland (QRO live review), the band’s original lead singer, who was given the heave-ho this past February.
After twenty years together and six studio albums, this parting of ways has turned ugly, with legal wrangling over use of the bands’ name and song catalogue. Never mind whose side STP fans are on, the band has moved on and put on a take-no-prisoners rock show to a not-quite-packed but respectably filled house.
The Paramount was the fifth stop on the band’s fall tour of smaller venues across the U.S., playing what everybody wants to hear, what some want to hear and one new song, “Out of Time”, off of STP with Chester Bennington’s new EP High Rise, due out October 8th.
The group looked and sounded like the total professionals they all are, with bass player Robert DeLeo addressing the crowd at first, easing into the transition with Chester Bennington as not only lead singer but frontman. “Down” was followed by “Big Bang Baby”, “Vaseline”, and “Dead and Bloated”. Once Bennington hit those first few songs hard, his in-your-face energy bounding all over the stage, the fans were won over and he took over on the mic. He was the total package – stage presence, positive energy, connecting with the audience. And heck, everybody was just happy. Band members Dean DeLeo, Robert DeLeo and Eric Kretz were all sharing the love with Bennington and all gave a high energy, good time show.
And no, Chester Bennington is not Scott Weiland. In fact, he’s a fan. At one point he said, introducing “Sex Type Thing,” “This next song changed my fucking life the first time I heard it.” Bennington’s respect for the band was clear – he went on to say that when he was starting out, “These guys were the only guys doing real rock and roll.” So basically you have a hardcore fan with the chops of an accomplished vocalist and performer giving it all he’s got singing songs he loves with his heroes. What’s not to like? It’s just good music – and a great show.
Support by Filter was well matched. Filter is Richard Patrick’s band – the frontman and former Nine Inch Nails guitarist once played with STP’s DeLeo brothers in the nineties ‘supergroup’ Army of Angels. So the double-bill was a natural fit and the good vibes kept on flowing with STP’s encore, where Patrick couldn’t help but jump up on stage and join in on “Piece of Pie”, arm over arm with Bennington.
Filter put on a righteous show of their own. Now promoting their sixth studio album, The Sun Comes Out Tonight, an older and wiser Patrick is a seasoned performer who knows how to put on a rock show and that show alone was worth the price of admission. Joining Patrick onstage were his collaborator on this album, the talented guitarist Jonny Radtke, Phil Buckman on bass and Filter’s newest drummer, Long Island native Jeff Fabb.
With fiercely emotive vocals and a serious communion with the audience, Patrick was everywhere, singing to the whole house from both the stage and the crowd, where he surfed and serenaded through the entirety of “The Best Things” (after asking concert-goers to “be careful” with him, since he’s “had a few back surgeries”). Not only did fans get a chance to reach out and touch during the show, Patrick also promised to hang out and talk music, take pictures, and sign things at the merch booth after the show. Long Islanders couldn’t get a more personal show.