Scott Stapp delivers Proof of Life at Pittsburgh’s newest venue Jul02

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Scott Stapp delivers Proof of Life at Pittsburgh’s newest venue

Christian artist and longtime Creed frontman Scott Stapp is out on the road in support of his latest angelic endeavor Proof Of Life. There was a time when Creed was seen as bigger than God himself and Proof Of Life is set to catapult Stapp far beyond the success of his previous band. If the tour hits your town, don’t miss the chance to see one of rocks all-time greatest frontmen in action.

Fans in Pittsburgh were fortunate enough to have the show stop its newest concert venue Latitude 40, which is far from your typical concert venue. The building houses a full service restaurant, two bowling alleys, two full service bars and two mini bars, a full arcade, two movie theaters, a cigar bar and concert hall. All of it separated by LED-lit water walls and air conditioned for patron comfort.

The bubbles in the LED water walls are not only beautiful, but enchanting as well. It’s a place you can take the whole family and after just one show, it is already hands down the best place to see a show in Pittsburgh. The theater was designed for shows, so the sound system and lighting are perfect. Did we mention all the TV’s and that parking was free? You read that right, free.

Australia’s Monks Of Mellonwah not only kicked things off that night, but had the distinct pleasure of being the first band to play the new stage. They delivered a flawless set of mellow, old school rock n roll in the vein of Hawkwind or Pink Floyd, with a modern alternative twist. They were very well received by the crowd and as their set went on, the fans got louder and louder.

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The duo of guitarist Joe De La Hoyde and bassist brother John were both so intent and lost in their playing that they rarely opened their eyes. When they ran into technical difficulties, singer Vikram Kaushik and drummer Josh Baissari didn’t miss a beat, launching into an impromptu rendition of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” that got the crowd ramped up. Closer “Swamp Groove” got a massive audience response and they had an excellent turnout at their merch booth after their set.

Weirton, WV’s Descendsion was next and, as always the band delivered a flawless five song set of killer melodic hard rock. Guitarist Brian Davies, bassist Aaron Glosser and drummer Gary Stewart were as solid and entertaining as ever, but it was hard to take your eyes off of charismatic frontman James Keller, who was opening for his idol that night and was in rare form.

Keller held the crowd in the palm of his hand as he recalled a story after opener “Nothing To Lose,” of how 15 years ago Scott Stapp gave him a ring he was wearing at a show- one that Keller still wears to this day, setting into motion a sequence of events that would change his life forever and essentially planting the seed that would grow into Keller’s desire to front a band of his own and one day open for Scott Stapp- a dream that had finally come Full Circle to fruition.

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Keller paused during “Father Said” to have everyone wish his Dad, who was in the audience, a Happy Birthday. Then he got down on his knees during “In Plain Sight” to touch the hands of fans in the front row and closer “All In Your Mind” recieved a massive response from the crowd and Descendsion put on one hell of a show and if people weren’t fans of the band when they arrived, they damn sure were when they left.

At last the lights dimmed and the time had come for the man, the myth, the legend- the one and only Scott Stapp. When the intro music went a little long, the rabid fans that could no longer contain themselves erupted and when Stapp and the band quietly and unassumingly took the stage, they erupted again- this time like legendary Mount Vesuvius.

The entire length of the stage was flanked by a massive 50 foot wide-by-10 foot high LED screen that depicted God on one side and the Devil on the other and with Stapp’s still-beating heart in the middle symbolizing his internal struggle with good and evil. The venue’s perfect sound mix thrusted Stapp’s soulful, powerhouse vocals to the forefront, taking center stage and becoming the focal point for the whole show right where they belonged.

Stapp’s backing band was as good as they come and gave the performances of their young lives, but all eyes were on Stapp, who’s voice was in top form. He oozed charm from every pore of his being as well as being soaked in sweat by the end of “What If” and “My Own Prison.” After over 15 years in the business, his voice is still one of the very best and his performance and larger than life stage presence, second to none.

Stapp delivered a spiritual message of self-empowerment and belief in one’s self between “Surround Me” and “Faceless Man” that garnered a huge response from the crowd, but it was the back to back hits of “With Arms Wide Open” and “Higher” that nearly incited a riot, launching the rabid fans into a sing along that almost drowned out the band at times.

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“Break Out” saw every cell phone and lighter in the place lit up and “Hit Me More” found Stapp reaching out to touch the hands of the faithful. He paused again after “One Last Breath” and “Only One” to say, “I heard we were the first tour to play this place.” He went on, “I’m honored and I’m honored that all of you came to see us play tonight.”

From there they broke into a version of “Jesus Was A Rockstar” that was infinitely heavier than it’s studio counterpart and by the time Stapp reached the line, “He brought the house down!” he had just that and he wasn’t quite done with the good people of Pittsburgh just yet.

At this point, you may be asking yourself, “How can he possible follow that?” With the encores of “Crash,” “My Sacrifice” and the title track to the new album “Proof Of Life,” that’s how. When they were done, the crowd was spent and everyone was left grinning from ear to ear.

-Eric Hunker

Preshow interview with Scott Stapp: