Is 4% a lot? If someone was to give you 4% less of something, are you really missing out? For the most part, that answer would be…No! Well, the answer changes when it comes to music. If you were to listen to an album that was playing 4% slower and you asked that question, my answer would be…Yes, 4% makes a huge difference. And such is the case for the Stone Temple Pilot’s album ‘Live 2018’.
What am I talking about? For Record Store Day 2018, the one on Black Friday, Stone Temple Pilots released a special edition, 3-D, live album. The music wasn’t 3-D, the album cover was. There was a manufacturing error with the vinyl that caused the speed of the album to be 96% of the actual speed. Only a 4% difference that made a world of difference when listening to the music.
In my original review of Stone Temple Pilots – Live 2018 review, I mentioned if my opinion of the album was changed when (and if) I received the replacement copy, I would do another review…and here we are. The original, 96% speed, actually received a 3.0 out of 5.0 Stars…what will the corrected vinyl receive? We will see shortly.
The Replacement copy arrived and it took about 3-4 months after I contacted them to get a replacement which makes sense since albums need about a 3 month window to be made. The copy arrived and it was in a very simple, solid white cardboard sleeve. The dust cover was the same as the original version and the album was also the same in the that beautiful translucent, red vinyl.
- Wicked Garden
- Dead & Bloated
- Sex Type Thing
- Trippin’ On a Hole in a Paper Heart
- Roll Me Under
- Big Empty (Acoustic)
- Interstate Love Song (Acoustic)
- Pretty Penny (Acoustic)
When the album starts, I am amazed at how different it does sound at normal speed. I couldn’t believe it made that much of a difference. “Wicked Garden” opens up the show and the band sounds great. I originally said Jeff sounded too much like Scott on this one and that opinion hasn’t changed. The enjoyment of the overall song has improved as it does with each listen. I am really digging it now more than I did. “Vasoline” comes at you next and being one of my favorite songs, I have high hopes and musically I am not disappointed. It is that pure STP sound and the band is killing it. Jeff’s vocals are a little rough and my thoughts on that are no different than before. I just enjoy the song much more when it sounds like it should.
“Meadows” is up next and Jeff kills it on this and why not, it is his song and he isn’t trying to perform someone else’s song. It feels more natural and he seems to be a little more relaxed. Next up is “Dead & Bloated” and I think my opinion is unchanged on this one. Jeff kills it again and despite sounding like Scott, it doesn’t bother me this time in the slightest. The band is on fire for this and they seem to be clicking now.
“Sex Type Thing” is so different. Here is what I said about this originally…“I don’t like what he (Jeff) does vocally with this one. It sounds too forced and doesn’t feel right. He seems a little off key or maybe he is straining to sing it, either way not great.”…He does sound like it is a little harder to sing this one, but he isn’t off key and it sounds much better that I gave it credit for back then. Still not a favorite, but much better than I stated at the time.
The song that really showed the difference between the two LPs is “Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart”. The opening drums at normal speed are electrifying and when you go back and play the 96% speed, it truly sounds so much slower. Although I still enjoyed the song at that slower speed, normal speed is remarkably better. The song sounds like it was intended and it was intended to knock your socks off which it now does and then some.
The album truly shines on Side 2. Original thoughts – “Plush” has a dark, foreboding feel to it before Jeff comes in. I like what they are doing with this one as it is really just Dean’s guitar and Jeff’s vocals and about half way through, a little percussion is brought in, but very minimal until close to the end when the whole band joins in. Nice twist to the song. Might be my favorite so far. Current thoughts – Still kicks ass and IS my favorite on the disc.
“Roll Me Under” is the next one and it is a rocker. The song is from the new album and was one of my favorites off the album and one of my favorites here as well. Great rock track with a lot of punch. I always thought this would be a great song live and they show that to be true. Original thoughts and completely unchanged with this release except it actually sounds even better.
The last three songs are all acoustic, “Big Empty”, “Interstate Love Song” and “Pretty Penny”. “Big Empty” goes for over 6 minutes, but the time flies by. It is simple and yet elegant and they show what a fantastic song it truly is.
Original comments on “Interstate Love Song” – “What was strange with this set was hearing “Interstate Love Song” so slowed down. It was actually great.” And at normal speed it is still slowed down (not as much) and is STILL great. And the final track, “Pretty Penny” is in Jeff’s wheelhouse. He nails this one and when it ends you want more like every good song should do.
The band does a great job with these acoustic songs and it is nice to see them perform the songs a little differently without losing their essence. Side Two is still the best side for me on this record and that was the feeling before. It no longer saves the album as with the corrected version, it doesn’t need saving. It now adds to the experience.
A comment I made the in the original review was that “the band sounded like they were playing either in a different key or a little slower than normal and it impacted the overall feel of the album.” That was all due to the slower speed and I know longer feel that is the case. I can now enjoy it for what it is. And enjoy I did. That original 3.0 is now worth a solid 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars. Now the album is something worth listening to and will get pulled out from time to time and played where I couldn’t say that before.
When they change the structure of the songs and experiment with sounds to fit Jeff (like “Plush” and the acoustic versions), the band truly shines and is what they should continue to do. When it sounds so much like the original it doesn’t work as well. Keep doing like Side 2 and this band could go places.