Stone Temple Pilots & Blue October at The Woodlands, 7/19/2014

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Bud Lite Weenie Roast Feat. Stone Temple Pilots, Blue October, 10 Years Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion July 19, 2014

When it was first announced that Chester Bennington would be singing with the Stone Temple Pilots, the public raised a collective eyebrow and even avid Linkin Park fans wondered if he possessed the chops for the job. But Bennington slowly won over fans, both old and new.

With an appreciation for the band's original sound but also a swagger all his own, he strode out onto the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion stage Saturday night alongside the rest of the band's original lineup to the elation of the crowd.

Unlike many contemporary rock concerts, Bennington's vocals were subdued, set alongside the bass and guitar levels instead of high above them. As fans gleefully sang along to the likes of "Sex Type Thing," "Vaseline," "Big Empty" and "Dead & Bloated," it became clear that Bennington had resolved himself not to reinvent the wheel.

Despite being the band's new face, he recognizes his place as a part of the band, as a piece but not the whole. He wasn't hired to steal the show, and he knows it.

STP has been doing its thing for some two and a half decades now. And as elucidated in numerous interviews, Bennington is just excited to be a part of one of his favorite groups.

So while he might strut about the stage as if he owns it, what he's really doing in swaying the cameras and the crowd's attention toward the other band members, offsetting the audience's tendency to focus on the vocalist.

And yes, his vocals were on point. No, he wasn't Scott Weiland, but Bennington gave the original vocalist his due without adding too much of his own flair, instead allowing the band to perform as one cohesive unit.

Even when the band was performing new tunes, fans were gleefully cheering them on. For an hour and a half, Bennington spoke sparingly and instead allowed the music to speak for itself. It was exactly how it was supposed to be.

Story continues on the next page.

Before STP, hometown favorites Blue October got the crowd hyped with one of the strongest performances they've ever given. Reaching deep into their repertoire, vocalist Justin Furstenfeld and crew was able to tap into the raw energy and emotion found on their older albums and still espouse the hope-filled message from their latest release, Sway.

"We spent a lot of time focusing on the bad stuff," Furstenfeld told the crowd. "But it's time to put that victim shit away."

10 Years took the stage in the late afternoon and were the first band of the day to garner any real attention. The Tennessee natives heightened the crowd's collective pulse with their unique blend of heavy and alternative rock, setting the stage for the acts that followed.

Personal Bias: A solid lineup and plenty of cloud cover made for a pretty great day for an outdoor concert.

Overhead In the Crowd: "He [Bennington] looks like an embryo to me."


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