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Concert Review & Photos - Scott Stapp

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Scott Stapp is considered by many to be one of the top vocalists of the 1990’s.  His thought-provoking lyrics and high-energy stage presence were a welcome change in a post-grunge scene that seemed more pop oriented and less-substantive than its heavyweight predecessors like Nirvana or Pearl Jam.  Upon the release of My Own Prison in 1997, Stapp and Creed quickly ascended to the top of the Billboard Charts with three #1 hits - a feat that no other band had accomplished with a debut album.  Over the next few years, the band’s popularity skyrocketed including a certified diamond LP, Human Clay, and a Grammy in 2001 for Best Rock Song with their hit, “With Arms Wide Open”.  Creed was definitely a household name and arguably one of the most popular bands on the planet.  Unfortunately, all of the fame and fortune that comes with success came crashing down on Stapp in 2004 when Creed parted ways.  Regardless of reason for their break up, it was the first in a series of tragic events that would stigmatize (and ultimately reshape) Scott Stapp into the man he is today.

On Saturday August 20th, Scott Stapp rose from the ashes to perform for an intimate crowd at Club Vibe inside of the Morongo Casino in Cabazon, CA. Expectations were high for the near-capacity crowd, many of which had already seen Scott Stapp perform numerous times on his 2016 Proof of Life Tour.  As lights dimmed, energy levels began to skyrocket as frenzied fans began to push their way towards the stage.  Strobes flashed green and blue as lead guitarist Ioannis Papadopoulos, rhythm guitarist Ben Flanders, bass guitarist Sammy Hudson, and drummer Dango Cellan all took their place on stage.  After a short prelude, Scott Stapp joined the band center stage, grabs the mic, and screams, “I think they shoot cause they want it.” And at that moment, all bets were off in Cabazon as the band launched into 2001 anthem “Bullets”.  Based on Stapp’s energy and emotion, it was clear that this was going to be a special night.

Over the next two hours, Scott Stapp mesmerized the Southern California crowd with a brilliant setlist comprised of classics from his years with Creed as well as lesser known tracks off his solo LP Proof of Life.  Standards such as “My Own Prison”, “With Arms Wide Open”, and “Higher” were played with a reckless abandon that transported many back to their first Creed concert.  Stapp’s vocals were spot-on, and showed no signs of rust as he brilliantly maneuvered the 90-minute 12 song set.  In addition, Scott’s band was absolutely amazing.  Papadopoulos and Flanders electrified the crowd with brilliant guitar work coupled with a kick-ass stage presence that left nothing on the table the entire show. Hudson’s bass lines were sick, and Dango’s stick work was truly intoxicating.  The way these guys played together, you’d think they had been touring for the last 15 years.  Scott Stapp wrapped up the evening with an amazing encore featuring two of my favorite songs, “One Last Breath” and “My Sacrifice”.  You could tell from the look in his eyes that he did not want the night to end, and he connected with as many fans as possible up until the last note was played.  What an epic show.

From his humble beginnings as the son of a Pentecostal Minister to now solo-artist, Scott Stapp has lived a full life with many highs (and even more lows) over a complex 20-year career.  His self-admitted struggles with drugs, alcohol, and mental illness have taken him on a fascinating journey that most could not fathom, only to come out on the other side a better human being, father, and husband.  And to get back in the game after all that Stapp has gone though is an incredible feat all to itself.  Saturday’s show at Morongo was a testament that anything is possible with focus, determination, along with the unconditional love and support from one’s family. If this inspiring performance was any indication of things to come for Scott Stapp, the sky’s is definitely the limit going forward.  Saturday's performance is one of my top 10 for 2016 and definitely a “must-see” show!

Click Here to find out when Scott Stapp is playing in your area on his 2016 Proof of Life Tour.

Set List (8/20):

  • Bullets
  • My Own Prison
  • What If
  • Torn
  • Overcome
  • One
  • Dying to Live
  • Jesus Was a Rockstar
  • With Arms Wide Open
  • Higher
  • Encore – One Last Breath
  • Encore – My Sacrifice


Stay Frosty and Rock On!


Matthew Belter

Executive Editor - Long Beach

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