Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Awesome Week Part 1: Stone Temple Pilots Live in Manila

I've been so stoked to watch Stone Temple Pilots for weeks prior to the concert itself. I invited people to go with me when I first found out that STP was playing out here in Manila, but to no avail. No one seemed interested. This is where the notion started that I was going to enjoy great music regardless if anybody wanted to go with me or not. Luckily, a few days later, my good friends Briggs and Roland both expressed interest in going. So I had people to go with me after all. We all agreed that the most expensive seats were the way to go. I grew up with STP. There was just no way I was not going to get as close to the stage as I possibly could.

Roland and I met up at Briggs place prior to the concert. I originally thought we had 4th row seats. But actually, we got 7th row seats. Briggs was the one who got us the tickets and Roland and I just paid her back for it.

Fast forward to arriving at Araneta Coliseum, we could see a lot of people already waiting outside the concert venue. We figured we wouldn't have much trouble getting in given how our seats were so close. We got in and I noticed they were selling merch just right near the entrance. I hopped skipped over there like a giddy kid. But Briggs and Roland looked at me like an idiot. I told them that when I was at the Nine Inch Nails concert, that the stall with shirts already closed by the time the concert was done. I just drooped back to Briggs and Roland like I was just scolded by my parents.

We all then proceeded to the inner part of the venue. We bought water and a few other things before proceeding to the Patron area. We were there rather early apparently as there was only a few people in the patron area compared to other seats higher up. And here we thought we came just in time. It was quite a wait while we were seated.

I was trying to locate both Islaw, my band's bassist, and a friend of mine Mari from the upper box seats. I had fun calling them up just for them to tell me where exactly they were. It was equally fun goading them by saying "Heeeheee... I'm down here and you're not... nye nye nye". I enjoyed that thoroughly actually. LOL!

I previously asked one of the vendors outside if they were selling any beer because that's what they did during the Nine Inch Nails concert (same venue as STP's concert). Briggs was too lazy to get up. So Roland and I walked to the outer circle to search for alcoholic beverages.

I asked Roland if we could pass by the merch stall again. He wanted to buy a shirt or two as well, so he agreed. Unfortuantely, they ran out of Large size shirts, just Extra Large. I ended up buying one Extra Large T-shirt and a Large long sleeved shirt that was obviously a little too form fitting to my liking. I shamelessly wore that long sleeved shirt to work the next day. People seemed to like it. Good thing I was quite a few pounds lighter by then.

We ran into Erwin (Sound) when we found the stall that sold alcohol. I was glad to hear that he finally finished his UP Music degree, Major in Composition. His current problem is that now he doesn't know what to do with his finished degree. He said he's looking to work on a few projects, etc. While Roland kept chatting with Erwin, I bought beer for us. Apparently, they set up smoking areas. So we had a few cigarettes before heading back in.

The front act, Sinosikat, already started playing, by the time Roland and I got back to our seats. Briggs was thrilled to be handed a beer. We proceeded to enjoy the first salvo of music for the night. To my surprise, both Sinosikat bassists were there. I know Karel and the other bassist would take turns during Sinosikat gigs. My guess was it's because of their varied commitments and schedules. But of course, this was a Stone Temple Pilots concerts. So I highly doubt they'd wanna pass up playing as the front act.

Kat, the vocalist, is very pleasing to the eyes. She was half the entertainment for the set. Of course, the other half was the rest of the band. From Kakoy, the six string samurai, to the crazy bass lines coming from both bassists. It's too bad the front act techs didn't know what they were doing, as I hardly heard the bassists as they were playing.

I was also wondering why the front act selection was Sinosikat, when they're musical style was nowhere near that of STP's. I found that very odd. But nonetheless, Sinosikat performed with a lot of energy, and it was very entertaining.

It was by this time, that I started realizing how crappy the camera is on my Blackberry. I should buy a decent digicam one of these days. But it's plainly more convenient to just lug around my phone rather than another block in my pocket.

After Sinosikat, we were waiting a while again until STP started playing. The crowd from the farthest seats was rowdy as expected, with their premature screams and cheers each time one of the techs would go up on stage from tuning the drums to the guitars.

Two stage-hands yanked on ropes on either side of the stage to reveal a large red cloth tarp with the band's current band logo. They always change their band logo depending on the most recent album they've just released. And this time was no exception. Everybody screamed as the band came out and took their positions. It was at this time I pulled out my iPod and Belkin Tune-Talk to record all the audio of STP's set. I put it down on my seat and just looked at it from time to time, wishing it wouldn't conk out of me.

Scott Weiland was a surprise. He came out with a blazer and scarf during their first song "Crackerman". His voice sounded different to the point that I almost thought it was somebody else who filled in for Weiland. Once he took off his shades, then he became a lot more familiar. There were a number of things to say about Scott's individual performance compared to the rest of the band. And I guess this is the root of all the unnecessary rage over Twitter and Facebook. Weiland lost his low register, and overall power in his voice. At times he would lose pitch or his voice would break. He would often go vibrato when he's supposed to sustain notes cleanly like he does in studio recordings. There was also something to be said about his garb, and Mike Jagger-esque dancing. Not to mention that he's not the lean Weiland of yester-year. I suppose everybody was so used to him pinned down to a rocking chair from his old MTV unplugged performance, that his current onstage antics came as a surprise.

In Weiland's defense, he did employ other style tactics with his vocal performance that I liked. He used a megaphone just like he did back when he was still in Velvet Revolver. This was a nice touch on some songs, particular one of their encore songs, Dead and Bloated. And at times, his melodic re-interpretation of some portions of songs sounded reminiscent of Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction.

The rest of the band was rock solid, with special mention to Dean DeLeo, the guitarist. Dean played like it was over 10 years ago. He played the slide guitar parts close to perfect like in their studio albums.

The set list was no surprise to many who were there. Apparently, the band plays the same set list for all their concerts around the world for this particular tour. My friend Dru clued me in on the set list a few hours prior to the concert. So while others were clamoring for "Plush", I already knew it was coming up at a certain point.

The concert was so much fun. It just made me remember how much musical discovery I went through growing up with this music. And the song selection went deep with how they played a good number of songs from their first two albums. My only real complaint was the two big ouphes in front of us that obstructed our view somewhat. They were flailing their arms pretending they knew the lyrics of the songs, while you could clearly hear myself, Briggs, and Roland singing the lyrics of practically all their songs to the letter.

At a certain point during STP's set, I pulled out my Blackberry to take a video of one of the songs. One of the big ass goons kept flailing his arms to the field of vision of my Blackberry. So the video I eventually uploaded on YouTube was more starring that goon's head and arms than STP... erg...

After the concert, we ended up drinking a few beers at a nearby establishment. I so wanted to drink some more. But I got work the next day. When I got back home, I still had a huge smile on my face. I loaded up the bootleg recording I made of the concert. The audio recording came out pretty good considering it's just my iPod and Belkin Tune-Talk that was used. I love that thing. Decently reliable. I planned to replace the audio of the video I took with my Blackberry with the audio from the bootleg recording. The resulting video is below.

I ended up falling asleep while listening to the bootleg recording. This was a great start to a series of events that was gonna last me through the week until past the weekend.


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