Stone Temple Pilots "Live 2018" (Record Store Day Black Friday 2018)

For Record Store Day Black Friday 2018, the '90's alternative rock band Stone Temple Pilots issued their first live album ever, titled Live 2018. The album featured the band's new lead singer Jeff Gutt, who made his studio debut with STP on the self-titled Stone Temple Pilots album earlier that year. The live LP, pressed in red vinyl, was limited to 5,000 copies worldwide. The cover art featured 3-D images on the front and back cover, with the requisite 3-D glasses packaged inside with the record. It's a good thing the record comes with visual assets, because the record itself suffers from a fatal technical flaw.



The majority of the song selections come from the band's Scott Weiland-fronted '90's heyday, except for two songs -- "Meadow" and "Roll Me Under" -- from the 2018 album. Except for singer Gutt, the rest of the band's original lineup remains unchanged, consisting of Dean DeLeo (guitar), Robert DeLeo (bass), and Eric Kretz (drums).

Jeff Gutt, who was previously best known as the runner-up on Season 3 of The X Factor in 2013, stands in the shadows of not one, but two tragic former frontmen who died early deaths in recent years. Weiland, who was the band's vocalist from their 1989 inception until his firing in 2013, died in late 2015 of a drug overdose. And Chester Bennington, the Linkin Park vocalist who served as Weiland's replacement from 2013 until 2015, committed suicide in 2017. Although Gutt made a good impression on the studio album, he still may be expected to prove himself a worthy successor in a live setting.

What a shame it is, then, that Gutt is the one hurt the most by the Live 2018 LP -- not because of his performances, which were fine (more on that later) -- but because the record was cut at the wrong speed! When the LP is played at 33 1/3 RPM, it sounds too slow, sort of like a 45 being played at 33 1/3. However, when you play it at 45 RPM, it sounds like it's playing too fast. And I know it's not just my copy that sounds this way, because the internet shows plenty of comments saying the same thing. Try to imagine the studio versions of the songs being played on a warped vinyl record, and you'll have an idea of what to expect from the sound of the Live 2018 record. The instrumentation does not come across too badly, even though it is quite obvious that it is being played at too slow a speed. But Gutt's vocals are badly distorted by the technical problem, making it impossible to tell how well he performed the songs. "Plush" and "Trippin' On A Hole In A Paper Heart" are the most annoying tracks to listen to on the LP. The three acoustic performances at the end of the record, recorded live in the studio at WBUZ in Nashville, suffer the least. Although the speed problem is the same, those three tracks are not as hard on the ears.

So, who is responsible for this technical problem? This is one vinyl release that surely could have used a bonus digital download card, but it unfortunately does not include one.

The Youtube playlist below contains almost all of the Live 2018 tracks with better sound. I could not find a Youtube video for the performance of "Roll Me Under" at KROQ, even in the video of the full set.



Also, the three acoustic numbers can be heard (and seen) with more clarity at the WBUZ website, and so can three of the other eight tracks at the KROQ website.

The verdict: Stone Temple Pilots did perform very well during these shows, and Gutt also fits into the band well. He sounds enough like Weiland to make the current lineup sound authentic, but he wisely does not mimic Weiland to any ridiculous degree. So, STP has come back strong -- but it's a shame that someone had to botch the RSDBF live album.


Stone Temple Pilots "Live 2018" (Rhino R1573414) 2018

Track Listing:

1. Wicked Garden
2. Vasoline
3. Meadow
4. Dead & Bloated
5. Sex Type Thing
6. Trippin' On A Hole In A Paper Heart
7. Plush
8. Roll Me Under
9. Big Empty (Acoustic)
10. Interstate Love Song (Acoustic)
11. Pretty Penny (Acoustic)

Tracks 1-8 recorded at the HD Radio Sound Space, Los Angeles, CA on March 23, 2018

Tracks 9-11 recorded at WBUZ Studio, Nashville, TN on May 11, 2018, courtesy of 102.9 The Buzz - WBUZ

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