Who would have ever thought Stone Temple Pilots would top off 16 drug- and drama-addled years by hitting the road for a reunion tour? I'll admit it: not me. Then again, rehab's expensive and with at least three albums' worth of solid music (out of five), the band can make a killing with 65 greatest-hits appearances across this continent. I'll also admit, I saw STP back in the Core days and after the release of Purple in 1994 (go seniors!) as well. Scott Weiland's voice was a fairly youthful knock-out back then, and the "big rock show" energy was transcendent for stoners, grunge fans and people who listened to the radio. But after so long, can STP—the band adored by gossip headline writers and loathed, at least in the beginning, by critics—really dust off and kick out those aging jams like "Big Empty," "Sex Type Thing," "Interstate Love Song," "Plush" or, God forbid, "Big Bang Baby"? Apparently it can. Sort of.
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Recent show reviews (professional and audience-produced) from Salt Lake to Cleveland use terms like "triumphant," "spellbinding" and "solid" while the New Jersey show two weeks ago (or, more specifically, Weiland) got a "bedraggled and bushed" from The New York Times. STP is supposedly headed to the studio in November—seems like it got that album-then-tour plan a bit backward—so perhaps recording will be a reward if Weiland successfully struts and vamps all the way through August's Bumbershoot. Black Francis inexplicably opens.