"It's all about fashion, that's it . . . always will be," Scott Weiland quipped, two tunes into his dozen-song set Saturday night at the Borgata's Music Box.
Give the flamboyant 41-year-old Californian credit for some self-referential honesty, resonating well beyond any passing appreciation of his tan leather shoes, neat black suit, flashy pink tie, and and what appeared to be a wide-brim Borsalino hat. Throughout his 17-year career, whether as perfunctorily yarling frontman for the faux-grunge Stone Temple Pilots, Axl-less Guns N' Roses act Velvet Revolver, or in lower-profile (and -profit) endeavors, Weiland has come off, for notable good and substantial bad, as a shape-shifting poseur.
Touring with a four-piece backing band in support of his just-released second solo album,
"Happy" in Galoshes
, the outfit Weiland most obviously dons these days is vintage David Bowie. (Said disc even features an unacceptably lackluster Paul Oakenfold-tweaked cover of "Fame." Saying that the 1975 nugget from Bowie's
deserves better is an understatement, especially here in Philly, where the chameleonic Englishman wrote and recorded much of his landmark "plastic soul" LP.)
Weiland opened the sold-out show in Atlantic City channeling the vibrato croon of Bowie's Thin White Duke era on a tepid cover of the Smiths' "Reeling Around the Fountain." As with the show's other cover - a curiously verveless take on the Flaming Lips treat "Waitin' for a Superman" - Weiland never mentioned the song's name or original source. This seemed wrong with a crowd of 1,000 who could have probably used the instruction; many didn't even seem too familiar with Weiland's own solo material, bellowing for "STP!" all night.
Sure enough, a decent reading of Stone Temple Pilots' "Interstate Love Song" produced the show's only substantial stand-up sing-along moments.
Arguably the night's strongest tune was the closer (and new single) "Missing Cleveland," a nostalgic glam-catchy rocker reaching all the way back to Bowie's Spiders From Mars days, with Doug Grean even evoking some choice Mick Ronson melodic surges on guitar.