Scott Weiland + Color Turning @ The Commodore Ballroom – May 18th 2009

An unusual feeling hung over the crowd from the moment I walked into this show. The only way I could identify it was an uneasiness, and I think it came from the fact that Scott Weiland has two completely opposite styles he can bring with him to stage. One of those styles is his happy-go-lucky, fun loving, music demigod larger than life faces. The other is his dark, clouded; drug-induced, internal self-hatred externalizing itself before your very eyes. My thought was that people were worried they wouldn’t get the first, but end up getting stuck with the latter. As the night unfolded the true question would be answered.

The opening act was a great band from Los Angeles, California called The Color Turning. This band honestly blew me away and was definitely handpicked by Mr.Weiland. They don’t have a record released yet, but have the usual MySpace outlet to satisfy any curiosities. There sound is a very low key, rock root based melodic sound. An influx of mini undertones find their way into every song, from a maraca here to a tambourine there. Their gentle way of approaching the instrumental front, brings your attention to the vocals, which are amazing.

One of my arguments against this band, is that they are too new. I wanted to rush out and buy there album now. They played a few songs that were not on their MySpace and I really wanted them now. In the world of music, and the on-demand nature of everything, this is a hard pill to swallow. The band said the release of their album would be sometime in late July, but by then I fear I will have forgotten them. I file their talent for now, under the “waiting to review” category in my mind and will rejoin them once I can cycle the album in the comfort of my own abode. They had one song that blew me away, which was a very delicately sung life perspective piece. It had very fragile sounding vocals and the singer was displaying a huge level of vulnerability.

During the last two songs of the set, Scott Weiland and his band appeared. They sat right on the lip of the Commodore stage and turned directly to the band like they were members of the audience. This didn’t affect the band, but filled them with excitement and they got wide-eyed as they finished up there set. Weiland picked up the tambourine during the last song and kept rhythm with the group. After each song Scott and his band clapped and hollered there blessings, it was a very personal touch. This moment felt great and by the smiles on the faces of this young band it was a great moment for them also.

After the 35 minute wait between bands, Scott Weiland and his crew took the stage and started it right off. Per the questionable faces in the crowd, the people still didn’t know if this was Dark Scott or Smiley Scott. Then he opened his mouth and upon his first words, his face lit up with a huge grin. The fans in the audience new right then he was with them, not drugged away somewhere in the distance realm of his stormy mind. The audience lit up and the night rocked hard quickly.

From this show I could tell very quickly why Scott had left Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver. The reason seemed obvious; they would not allow him creative control at all. Every song on this night blossomed from an idea. There was no fixed set time or definite song length. The first song was just a 15-minute jam session, which had Scott pouring his soul into the mic and into a contraption set at mid-stage. This contraption allowed him to emanate digital sound based on the analogue turning of dials and the placement of plugs and wires. It was very retro but made for a really great effect.

Throughout the set, songs would slowly depart from reality of what people remembered them and be skewed into a new vision right in front of you. Some songs would just have a slight change in lyrics, or sped up for a particular effect. For the most part it was great, at some points he would lose the audience, myself included, as we just didn’t get what was going on. But because of the enthusiasm behind it, and the content look in Scott’s eye, it made it all okay. This may sound strange but a lot of people I know didn’t attend this concert, as they were afraid of seeing the Dark Scott, on this night I think I saw the true Scott. I saw him as more real and fulfilled then I have ever seen him.

The setlist had some known pieces injected into it, which I am sure was the stipulation by the suits to back the tour, Vasoline and Interstate Love Song were among the few chosen. Overall the stage presence was that which you would expect, larger than life. The only thing that was there that I didn’t expect was the happiness, he was truly smiling. Large cone light lit the band from behind and above, and made for some stupendous visuals as usual. At the very end of the show on the last song, they turned on some bubble machines and the fantastic backdrop of cone lights were inundated with floating bubbles. This finished the night off on a whimsical note and had everyone laughing and smiling along with a happy Mr.Weiland.

Overall this show brought a few surprises with Scott’s attitude being the biggest one. I may not return to see a small show by Scott as I found myself lost in his mind a few times, and unable to identify what he was trying to communicate. The show was great, but there was too much going on at time which made for some confusion and feelings of over-intense musical over load. While I completely appreciate his talent, I don’t think I could handle two more hours of jamming. He does a lot better in these small venues as you have to see him up close to really understand him, and take the whole thing in. I would give this show a 3.5 out of 5, and chalk it up to being a must see for anyone who loves jam bands. Which is not really my style, I like vocal walking and such but adding 12 minutes to a song takes away what I love about it.

Happy Concerting

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