After much teasing earlier this year Stone Temple Pilots revealed that their long search for a new front-man had been successful with the hiring of Jeff Gutt to fill the role in the band. The DeLeo Brother led band had taken their time in filling the roles and the decision to wait to release the information until the release of a new single was nothing short of masterful as Gutt’s stunning vocal range was quickly showcased on “Meadow.” The single quickly climbed the active rock charts and after a series of promotional live videos from their first gig a Stone Temple Pilots comeback tour was announced across the country with many stops at festivals along the way.
It became clear that this tour would be one of the hottest of the spring as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds filled with numerous comments from those excited to catch the tour – some would mark their first time seeing Stone Temple Pilots and other’s this tour would mark their 20th but all sharing in the desire to hear both the new and iconic material from the band. The tour had been on the road a few weeks by the tour hit the Sherman Theater but the band was anything but fatigued as they took to the stage hidden behind a veil of haze that was flooded in.
Robert DeLeo and Dean DeLeo were the first to walk on stage masked by the fog and illuminated dimly with a blue light but greeted by a roaring crowd of fans who packed the Stroudsburg venue to near capacity on a Tuesday night in May. As the light continued to slowly shine strong it revealed Eric Kretz on the drums with a stick in the air and – as if cued up perfectly – Jeff Gutt walked on stage with the microphone stand held high above his head. He had no shoes to fill, there was no pressure as his role in the band was not a replacement but as a new member who was allowed to become his own performer on stage which showed quickly as he belted out the chorus of “Wicked Garden” in a way it had never been done before. Each song left the crowd applauding and later in the night during “Plush” it even left them speechless.
The band’s near 20 song setlist spanned their lengthy discography of hits but rightfully had numerous songs from their recent self titled album that allowed Gutt to focus on the journey of becoming the new history of this band. Whether it was “Vasoline” or “Finest Hour” the band put on a performance that was beyond memorable with each track being delivered with intensity and passion that Stone Temple Pilot hasn’t had in some time.
It is one thing to replace a member but it is another entirely to start a brand new chapter of a band which Stone Temple Pilots have managed to do – you can call it lighting in a bottle if you will but whatever magic they captured is some of the best since their debut in the 1990’s. The “Gutt Era” of Stone Temple Pilots has begun and hopefully it will be a long reign for him a long side the DeLeo brothers and Kretz because after all this time there has never been a better version of this band and there never been more of a need for an iconic rock band of their status to be creating.