Stone Temple Pilots’ ‘Regeneration’ Kicks Off With Johnny Depp, Wayne Kramer
Stone Temple Pilots got the introductions out of the way last fall, when they welcomed new vocalist Jeff Gutt into the band at a private concert event at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. But now the rest of the world is getting the chance to experience the return of Stone Temple Pilots with the well-received Gutt fronting the band. STP kicked off their U.S. tour Friday night (March 2), at The Canyon Club in Santa Clarita, Calif.
Just a little hike outside Los Angeles, the Canyon was the perfect starting spot for the trek, giving the band a room big enough to pack in a lot of fans, but small enough to still feel like a club show. Shortly after 9, the green paisley projections on the stage went dark and STP emerged to a cello intro with a loud response from their adoring fans. Robert DeLeo gave a chest bump in appreciation. The leather jacket clad and sunglasses-wearing Jeff Gutt and guitarist Dean DeLeo took in the cheers, offering a salute to the crowd, and the night kicked off with the raucous song "Regeneration," which felt fitting given the band's rebirth with Gutt taking the vocal reins.
It was evident pretty quickly that STP had chosen wisely. Gutt's vocals fit well with the band's prior material and his charismatic stage presence, while definitely his own, seemed to capture the spirit of the late Scott Weiland.
By the night's second song, "Wicked Garden," the audience was fully on board, audibly joining Gutt for the first time, rocking out the "Burn, burn, burn" part of the song. The electricity in the room continued with "Vasoline," with the end of the song bringing drummer Eric Kretz to his feet pounding away the last few beats.
The banter was pretty much held to a minimum for the show, with an acknowledgement of the first show of the tour and a sincere thank you coming after their performance of "Lounge Fly." The band, clearly in the groove, seemed to be really enjoying being back onstage. Gutt slithered across the stage while Dean DeLeo's hair was flying as he bounded and twirled about during "Big Bang Baby."
Much like the Troubadour show, the new arrangement for "Big Empty" was a definite set highlight. Dean DeLeo broke out the slide for a bluesy intro, which initially threw fans off, before the song transitioned to the moody favorite that ranks among their best works. Some lucky fan nearby ended up with a souvenir after DeLeo tossed the slide into the crowd. If anything, the DeLeo brothers slowed down the track even more, with Robert DeLeo getting up close and personal with the audience as the song continued.
Keeping things on a mellower side, Gutt got a bit of a vocal showcase on "Atlanta," where he showed off his ability to be more of a crooner, even breaking into a whistle at the end. Afterwards, Dean DeLeo told the audience, "Makes me realize how much I miss our friend. Thank you Scott." And with that, the band broke into the song that gave them their biggest response of the night.
Much like at the Troubadour show, "Plush" started off as a two-part piece with Dean DeLeo slowing down the familiar chords and Gutt singing the pin-drop vocals. While the arrangement is meant to eventually pick up with Robert DeLeo and Eric Kretz joining in and bringing up the tempo to the original studio version, those plans went a bit awry thanks to the audience. In a moment of levity and definite joy for the band, the crowd had joined in the vocals with such force they eventually took over the song, with smiles and laughs all around from the band members as they realized the power coming back at them. After reclaiming the song from the audience with a triumphant finish, Gutt pointed to the sky as a nod of thanks to Scott Weiland.
The latter portion of the show was a mix of old and new. The fresh tracks recorded with Gutt -- "Meadow" and "Roll Me Under" -- both fit naturally within the set and even had some audience members singing back despite their relative newness. Meanwhile "Interstate Love Song," the high energy "Army Ants," deeper cut favorite "Piece of Pie," "Dead and Bloated" and "Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart" kept the night rolling along.
But being as this was the first show on the new tour, Stone Temple Pilots wanted to give fans something even bigger to take away from the night, so they brought up a pair of friends -- MC5 legend Wayne Kramer and Robert DeLeo's Hollywood Vampires pal Johnny Depp. Kramer, a Michigan native like Gutt, joined STP co-leading the cover of his own band's classic, "Kick Out the Jams." While Kramer was front and center, Depp was content to stay far left on the stage for most of the song. The blistering rave-up got the crowd juiced, leading to the night's final song, with both Depp and Kramer sticking around for "Sex Type Thing" and joining in the final bow with the band.
If opening night is any indication, Stone Temple Pilots should not only appease older fans, but should continue to build their fan base with Gutt up front and solid new material already finding a place in their sets. This first leg will last through mid-month before a break in the action. They'll be back for a second leg in late April that carries over into early June. See all of their scheduled U.S. dates here. And check our full photo gallery, the set list and fan-shot video from the show below.
Stone Temple Pilots Opening Night Set List - March 2, 2018 - Santa Clarita's Canyon Club
2. Wicked Garden
4. Lounge Fly
6. Big Bang Baby
8. Big Empty
12. Interstate Love Song
13. Army Ants
14. Piece of Pie
15. Roll Me Under
16. Dead and Bloated
17. Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart
18. Kick Out the Jams (with Wayne Kramer and Johnny Depp)
19. Sex Type Thing (with Wayne Kramer and Johnny Depp)
Stone Temple Pilots Photo Gallery From The Canyon Club in Santa Clarita
Stone Temple Pilots, "Vasoline" at The Canyon Club in Santa Clarita
Stone Temple Pilots Perform "Kick Out the Jams" With Wayne Kramer and Johnny Depp