By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
Labor Day Weekend is the last official holiday weekend of the summer season. During this time, I would usually get together my old friend Tyler Olsen, aka Rockaholic, and we would head to the annual street fair in our hometown. We would check out the different foods from different countries and have as much beer as possible. This year, we decided to do something a little different. We took this weekend as an opportunity to see some concerts. Our first stop was Las Vegas, where we head-banged like crazy to Parkway Drive. Next, we headed back to San Bernardino for the Revolution 3 Tour, featuring legendary hard rock bands the Cult, Stone Temple Pilots, and Bush.
The first to grace the Glen Helen Amphitheater stage was the Cult. This band made it big in the mid 1980s with a polished hard rock sound that fused with touches of post-punk and Goth rock. They kicked off their set with the hard rock power number, “Wild Flower.” Founder and frontman Ian Astbury wowed the fans with his soulful powerhouse singing. After so many years on the scene, Astbury still has an infectious voice. His long-time partner in crime, lead guitarist Billy Duffy, was flaming hot with his sizzling riffs. Sporting a slick, jet-black hair style with faded sides, he was in a blaze of glory with his solos, especially on his signature White Falcon G7593T guitar. The San Bernardino air was filled with glorified 80s hard rock and heavy metal with Cult classics “She Sells Sanctuary,” “Sweet Soul Sister,” and “The Rain,” but things got really heated when they played their 2 iconic tunes, “Fire Woman” and “Love Removal Machine.” As long as Astbury and Duffy are around, the Cult will always be at the top of their game.
Full The Cult slide show below:
It was sad when Scott Weiland suddenly passed away from a drug overdose 3 years ago. I thought Stone Temple Pilots were done, but then they brought aboard X-Factor contestant Jeff Gutt, recorded a new album (Stone Temple Pilots (2018)), and breathed in new life into the San Diego rock outfit. Gutt stepped out, sporting purple-ish hair all spiked up, and hits it hard with “Wicked Garden.” His energy, singing style, and sexy swagger reminds of everything that made Weiland one of the best frontmen ever. Guitarist Dean DeLeo kept things simple, but it was very effective with his hooks and flashy solos. His brother, bassist Robert DeLeo, and drummer Eric Kertz rocked the house with their intense beats and rhythmic hooks.
It was awesome hearing classic STP songs like “Interstate Love Song,” “Vasoline,” “Big Bang Baby,” “Big Empty,” and “Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart.” I was excited when they went into their first mega hit, “Plush.” Changing the arrangement just a bit, Gutt and Dean serenaded the fans with a slower version before they ended the song in its original heavy tempo. I would of liked to hear it in the original format, but this was a nice surprise. They even played 2 songs from the new record, “Meadow” and “Roll Me Under,” during which Gutt ran into the audience and spread as much love as he can. Ending the night with the suave “Sexy Type Thing,” Stone Temple Pilots are whole again, and the spirit of Weiland lives on in Gutt. He had some big shoes to fill, but it is a perfect fit.
Full Stone Temple Pilots slide show below:
Finishing out the evening in San Bernardino was England’s own Bush. I have seen them once at the Staples Center when they opened up for Nickelback, so it was cool to see them in a headlining capacity. The band that indirectly solidified the genre post-grunge got the party restarted with “Machinehead.” Frontman Gavin Rossdale pranced and danced around the stage, invigorating the fan’s rock ‘n’ roll spirits. Rossdale was on cue with every note he hit on both guitar and in his vocals. Chris Traynor was rocking out with his hair. He was wildly entertaining on lead guitar; smiling as it gave him much pleasure to swoon the crowd with his righteous solos. It has been almost 25 years since the release of Bush’s breakthrough debut, Sixteen Stone, and the fans cannot get enough of them when they go into the songs from that record. From “Machinehead” to “Everything Zen,” “Comedown,” and the ever popular “Glycerine,” their set was a night of alternative rock excitement. They even performed one song from their newest album, Black and White Rainbows, entitled “This is War.” During “Little Things,” Rossdale followed Gutt’s example, and ran into the crowd all the way to the top section, where he was surrounded by fans. He was like a rock ‘n’ roll Messiah. Bush was pure energy on stage, not slowing down for a second.
Full Bush slide show below:
They dubbed this tour the “Revolution 3 Tour,” and after witnessing an evening of pure rock fun, I can see why it was called that. Each band, in their own way, helped revolutionize the rock sound during the 80s and 90s. The fans were stellar and awesome. Along with Parkway Drive, this was the best way to spend Labor Day Weekend. To Bush, Stone Temple Pilots, and the Cult, I salute you. Horns up!!!