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Creed is simply a rock act that keeps on driving

Published on 08-13-2000
Published at Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

How big is Creed?

Big enough to draw nearly 40,000 fans to Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy Saturday night on the second date of the band's first amphitheater tour, big enough for Metallica-sized pyro eruptions on stage during its 90 minute set - and big enough to incur a backlash.

Creed has felt the sting of criticism lately, including sniping about their egos from Limp Bizkit's foremost ego, Fred Durst, and pundits who dismiss the Florida hard rock quartet as Pearl Jam clones.

Sure, Creed singer and lyricist Scott Stapp has moments of quasi-messianic posturing on stage and sounds more like Eddie Vedder than Eddie Vedder does these days, but so what? Strip away all the hype - positive and negative - and Creed is simply a hard-driving rock act that delivers.

Drawing from its 1997 debut and last year's "Human Clay" - which together have sold nearly 10 million copies - Creed played a bare-bones but brilliant set. There were no gratuitous note-happy solos from Mark Tremonti, that rare subtle rock guitarist, no trend-du-jour turntables and very limited between-song rambles from Stapp, who has learned to self-edit.

Instead, the foursome offered faithful but still energized renditions of such melodic yet head-bangable winners as the scathing "What If?" and haunting "Beautiful."

Bassist Brian Marshall's resignation from Creed, announced Wednesday, presumably happened a while ago. Fill-in four-stringer Brett Hestla was obviously well-rehearsed and played his parts seamlessly.

Young Mississippi pop-rock act 3 Doors Down is still adjusting to the spotlight created by its monster hit debut, "Kryptonite."

During a 45-minute mid-bill set, the band sometimes seemed constrained, as if its five members were mentally still crammed into a low-budget rehearsal room.

Despite the band's rookie status, however, 3DD still has a deep and hook-heavy bag of tricks. A moody reworking of "Loser," partly done a cappella, and the driving opener "Better Life" suggested that singer Brad Arnold and his band mates will grow into much more than mere one-hit wonders.

Opener American Pearl, heavily-inked, spiky-haired hard rock labelmates of Creed, had all the rock 'n' roll requisites - but the band fit the mold so well that it never tried breaking it, performing a half-hour set of solid but ultimately generic hard rock.

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