The concept of the tour was rooted in the theory of creating a true ‘tri-headline’ experience that gave each band the respect they deserved with nearly identical time on the stage. During this time the three bands that can only be described as rock royalty in their own rights would have the freedom to use the stage as they saw fit with as many songs as they could cram into their time. This meant the talking would be kept to a minimum but all of them addressed the sprawling crowd on what turned out to be a beautiful evening in downtown Toronto on the water front.
Among the three Stone Temple Pilots took the stage first as their stoic logo decorated the massive LED screen that spanned the length of the stage as brothers Dean and Robert Deleo took the stage welcomed by thunderous applause. The band’s return to form in the studio and on the touring circuit has been one of the most enjoyable stories in rock music over the past year as new singer Jeff Gutt has received stunning reviews from day one, including one from Sight of Sound when the band’s Spring headline tour came to the Sherman Theater.
Gutt’s reflective sunglasses may have hidden his eyes but the reflection shared what he was looking at as a close look revealed the massive crowd that had gathered early to see Stone Temple Pilots make good on the promise that they were back in action.
Dean Deleo danced across the stage with a smile as he ripped a guitar portion of “Wicked Garden” into the lens of one of the videographers in the pit as the band kicked off the set in a revved up fashion that was only fitting of a tour of this variety. Across just twelve songs Stone Temple Pilots gave the massive Toronto crowd a great sample of their diverse discography – though one could argue a lot of the band’s deep cuts are just as good as their massive hits. Gutt’s vocal shined brightest on the band’s new single “Meadow” but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t flawless across them all, the new single just really showcased the massive talent the band was able to find with his addition.
As the four of them embraced in the center of the stage after concluded the set with “Sex Type Thing” it seemed as if this was the band Stone Temple Pilots was always meant to be. The Deleo Brothers belong on stage with this band and Gutt has already earned his place with his dominant performances – hopefully a decade from now this group will have a few more albums together under their belt with countless packed shows like the evening in Toronto on this tour. Stone Temple Pilots set a high bar to hurdle and Bush took the Budweiser Stage within thirty minutes of their performance to just as massive of a Canadian welcome.
Though their set was the same length as Stone Temple Pilots it would end up being a few songs shorter as Gavin Rossdale and Bush blasted through a few of their greatest hits before they took the time to showcase the newer direction that the band has gone in. Rossdale’s raspy vocals were always critical to the band’s lasting success and they sounded best early in the set on a performance of “The Sound of Winter” that got the crowd off their feet in seconds.
It has been said times over but it is certainly worth noting again that at fifty two years of age Rossdale continues to outshine performers half his age and young when he is on stage. Whether he was behind his microphone stand, sliding across the stage on his knees for a guitar solo or even running around with just a wireless microphone in his hand Rossdale commanded the show all set long.
The set closed with a powerful “Comedown” that may have been the most energized performance a band could possibly deliver with an encore – this of course only being slightly overshadowed by the surprise cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together” only a few songs earlier. Across ten songs Rossdale and company had truly given Toronto their all that evening and just as Stone Temple Pilots before them they gathered at the center of the stage smiling as he they all night to thank the amazing crowd.
Multiple decades in and it seems as if Bush and Stone Temple Pilots have only just started to hit the formative years of their careers- both have had their ups and downs but the consistency of live performances has helped keep them at the forefront of the genre. It would be safe to bet that this won’t be the last time you see these two artists on the road together and hopefully we won’t have to wait another decade or more for it to happen.