Scott Weiland has certainly had an interesting career. The singer broke through as the Eddie Vedder-looking frontman for Stone Temple Pilots in the early nineties grunge era, but drug abuse and problems with the law led to the band’s break-up following 2001’s Shangri-la Dee Da. He teamed up with Guns n’ Roses’ Duff McKagan & Slash as Velvet Revolver, only to see that group dissolve in 2008 due to his personal problems. Now STP has reunited, with last year’s self-titled release & tour. And Weiland’s been putting out solo material, including two records for this holiday season – A Compilation of Scott Weiland Cover Songs and honest-to-god Christmas album, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. And his long, strange career brought him to iHeartRadio Theater in New York on Tuesday, November 29th for iHeartRadio.com.
Scott Weiland performing “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” live at iHeartRadio Theater in New York, NY on November 29th, 2011:
After a delayed start and numerous nineties grunge classics played over the P.A., Weiland came out in a white suit like he was Glenn Miller, with full big band behind him. Weiland proceeded to do three Christmas classics, “Christmas Song”, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, and “Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, and even with an introduction beforehand, the new album, big band, suit, and Christmas lighting in the small, exclusive iHeartRadio Theater (QRO venue review), Weiland going holiday still seemed a bit incongruous to his devotees assembled. The comparison to David Bowie & Bing Crosby singing “Little Drummer Boy” was made early & often – and was made more apt with a fan giving Weiland a DVD of Bowie at New York’s Madison Square Garden (QRO venue review). Admittedly, Weiland couldn’t do the Christmas classics like early Bowie, but can anyone this side of Bing Crosby compare to the pipes of a young Thin White Duke? Weiland gave a thank you to the gift-giving fan, as well as praise to his jazz band backing him, and even dedicated his new album to the troops overseas.
Scott Weiland performing “Have Yourself a Merry Christmas” live at iHeartRadio Theater in New York, NY on November 29th, 2011:
Before Weiland started, his introduction also let the crowd know that they’d also hear Stone Temple Pilots songs, Velvet Revolver songs, and Weiland’s solo material. However, Weiland’s “Killing Me Softly”, STP’s “Wonderful”, and Revolver’s “Do It For the Kids” were all morphed into slower, jazz/big band numbers – and it worked. Maybe it was because he wasn’t trying to rework any of his best-known material, and Weiland certainly picked the songs of his that were most suited to this change – he even mentioned doing private acoustic gigs as Velvet Revolver, before the super-group would do their big shows. Weiland & his band even did an impromptu improv that he said reminded him of the musicals of his youth like Hedwig, Rent, and Tommy (“Well, my youth…”), and did his best windmill guitar impression – someone shouted, “Jimmy Page!”, with which Weiland immediately corrected, “Pete Townshend…”
The oft-troubled star did ramble at times, and there was a running bet amongst some in the crowd as to whether he was drunk or high (his early, repeated requests for water tilted towards the high end of the spectrum…), but he still closed with an impressive rendition of STP’s “Vaseline”, which only added a jazzy backdrop while still allowing his guitarist to shred. Who knows where Scott Weiland will go now, but it will certainly be interesting to see…
photos by Jennifer Pottheiser
Scott Weiland performing “Vasoline” live at iHeartRadio Theater in New York, NY on November 29th, 2011: