May 19, 2012
Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
Grand Prairie, TX USA
Review by David Huff
Photos by Trey Campbell
Sometimes as a journalist, it's easy to forget just how great a band can be when it hits on all cylinders, no matter how brief a time the group's motor was running. With Creed opting to perform its epic Human Clay album in its entirety, it didn't take long to recall just how special and unique the four individuals on stage were, when they exploded onto the music scene some 15 years ago.
The past is a hard thing to live up to, especially when the principal players involved have moved on beyond the scope and power of the music that created them in the first place. Tonight Scott Stapp, guitarist Mark Tremonti, drummer Scott Phillips and battery mate Brian Marshall took painstaking measures to remind the few thousand assembled at the Verizon Wireless Theater why they were actually there. As soon as Stapp start singing the lyrics to Human Clay's first track, "Are You Ready", with that signature voice, no further guessing was needed.
There's a reason Creed sold 28 million albums in the U.S. alone during its brief five-year window of amazing creativity. Scott Stapp's vocals were so unique and powerful, his lyrics poignant and from the heart, you just couldn't turn away from the music. And let's face it, Mark Tremonti was a genius at crafting the right music for the lyrics flowing from Stapp's head. And that's not taking anything away from Marshall and Phillips, who were in lockstep with Tremonti all the way. Yes, standing in the crowd, watching the Human Clay album unfold before me, literally transported me back in time to the moment I first saw this band perform in 1998. The same feeling of euphoria that swept over me then had returned, only this time it was tinged with a bit of sadness. This album the band was performing would be the last great moment for Creed before egos wrecked what could have been.
Over the years, the one thing I've noticed about a band that soars to great heights is this. The one common thread they all share is the dynamics between the singer and the guitarist. Tinker with that formula in any way, and you're doomed to failure. Human Clay was the apex of the creative genius Stapp and Tremonti had seamlessly woven between them. And again, that's not to say Scott Phillips and Brian Marshall didn't contribute their parts as well. This album unfolding from beginning to end by the Creed machine was indeed the summation of all parts working together with utmost precision. From the album cover down to the order the songs were presented, Human Clay was a masterpiece. Tonight's performance was a reminder of that special moment in time.
This audience was comprised of individuals of individuals like myself who remembered the Creed of the late '90s. They were all initially drawn to the group because of what they heard on the group's debut album, My Own Prison and then its follow-up. Three of those songs, "Torn", "One" and the title track were performed as reminders. A few songs from the sometimes forgotten Weathered - "Bullets", "One Last Breath" and "My Sacrifice" - were also presented in their magnificent glory as well.
I'll admit that as I watched this concert unfold, I couldn't help but feel a little pissed at Scott Stapp. Yes, I did hold him personally responsible for breaking this band up. Then again, I had to remind myself that "lead singer's disease" is the most common affliction in rock and roll. It had doomed many potentially great groups in the past. It most certainly will raise its ugly head in the future. Fortunately, at least these four musicians were able to overcome the illness to reunite and remind everyone why they fell in love with a healthy Creed in the first place.
This band may come out with another album one of these days, but with Tremonti, Marshall and Phillips concentrating most their efforts with Alter Bridge, and its amazing singer Myles Kennedy, I seriously doubt there's any type of future working with Stapp. He has only himself to blame. If you have a chance to catch Creed on tour, I suggest you do so now. It's a wonderful way to remember the 'way we were' in time of economic prosperity and hope this band came out of. No one was tethered to their cell phone like they are today. The Internet had not destroyed the music business, and great albums still had meaning. My how times had changed. "What If" indeed!
Are You Ready?
With Arms Wide Open
Wash Away Those Years
Inside Us All
My Own Prison
One Last Breath