Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Scott Stapp at the Marlin Room at Webster Hall

Vocalist Scott Stapp (born Anthony Scott Flippen) was born in Orlando, Florida, and befriended guitarist Mark Tremonti at school. They formed Naked Toddler in 1993 in Tallahassee, Florida; bouncing off the religious inclination of Stapp's lyrics, the band was renamed Creed by 1995. Creed sold more than 50 million albums, but disagreements between Tremonti and Stapp ended Creed in 2004; the band reunited in 2009 for a fourth album and split again in 2013. Stapp released solo albums in 2005 and 2013. Although already sensationalized in tabloids, Stapp documented his history of substance abuse, suicidal ideation and bipolar meltdowns in his 2012 memoir and on VH1’s Couples Therapy with Dr. Jenn  reality television show in 1995.

Headlining at the Marlin Room at Webster Hall, Stapp was often in strong voice as he recalled the Creed catalogue that awarded him a career. The set was a spin-off of Creed's last tour and Stapp's 2014 tour, except that this time around Stapp was backed by lead guitarist Yiannis Papadopoulos, rhythm guitarist Ben Flanders, bassist Sammy Hudson, and drummer Dango Empire. The circumstances, with the audience pressed up against the stage and reaching out to touch him, made for an unusually personal experience. He responded by being more chatty between songs. He acknowledged the warmth of the fans, and spoke of his tumultuous past as he introduced "Slow Suicide" and "Justify." Stapp later spoke about how his recovery to better health included getting outside of himself, manifested by his commitment to adopting a village in the Philippines; from the stage he distributed packages with information about sponsoring a child in that village. Throughout the concert, Stapp and his band's performance was meticulous and nearly flawless, rocking hard with spiritually stimulating songs . The question remains, however, as to when Stapp will be able to live beyond the shadow of Creed's catalogue and establish his own musical identity.

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