For those of us in Central NJ, Starland Ballroom is a place that holds fond memories for most of us. It has been shut down for almost a year due to Hurricane Sandy. On Friday September 6, it re-opened with a vengeance. Re-modeled, shiny and new. They brought out the big guns for opening night, the newly energized Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington of Linkin Park taking over for the troubled Scott Weiland.
Opening for them, and sounding better than ever, was Filter. It's been a while since I have heard or seen much from Filter, but they came in with something to prove. And they absolutely sounded fantastic. Led through the paces by singer Richard Patrick, they ripped through their set like a band fired up. He was all over the stage and in the crowd, at one point crowd surfing front to back to front again.
I will admit, when I first heard that Chester Bennington would be singing for STP, I didn't know what to think. I am a fan of STP and Linkin Park, but it didn't seem to fit in my brain. Then I heard their new single and it changed my mind. I was excited to be able to shoot a frontman so fantastic in a place so small, and none of us were disappointed. The bottom line is, the STP touring now sounds better than they have in years. Bennington brought a new energy to the band and they all played with a fire I haven't seen in them in a while. And he sounds like Weiland, except Weiland hasn't sounded that good in years. All in all, it was a fantastic show. They played all the songs you wanted to hear, and they sounded incredible.