Singer Scott Stapp has had a very colorful and somewhat checkered past. From his time in Creed and on into his solo career, Stapp has built up a reputation for going from manic highs to epic lows, but always coming back a better and stronger man because of it all. Thankfully, after his most recent episode, Stapp finally sought out and got the help he so desperately needed. Armed with a diagnosis of Bi-Polar disorder and on the proper medication, Stapp is back again and stronger than ever. He has returned to the road, working on two new music projects and to his credit, speaking very openly about his ordeal to try to help others get the help they may need too. When the tour hit the Altar bar in Pittsburgh on a cold January evening Weirton’s own Descendsion were first up and as always, gave stunning performance that set the bar extremely high for all that had to follow them. The band, which consists of guitarists Brian Davies & TJ McDevitt, the rhythm section of bassist Aaron Glosser and new drummer Brock Birkhimer and vocalist James Keller is exceptionally tight and their songs and individual performances were some of the strongest in recent memory, making it next to impossible to take your eyes off of them. Keller, being the consummate showman began his performance in the balcony, went from the crowd to the stage and back out onto the bar top to give a self-empowering message about believing in one’s self and following your dreams no matter what your detractors say about you. He even gave the mic to the band’s #1 fan Rachael Adil, who despite being in a wheelchair, has never missed one of their shows, so she could sing a little of their new single “In Plain Sight,” giving Adil her own personal rock star moment. Kudos gentleman, job very well done, the boys in Rockett Queen would have their work cut out for them. Remember that name and spell it right… Descendsion. Fortunately, Rockett Queen came ready to rock their asses off and delivered an amazing set of kick ass Rock N Roll that had everyone there singing at the top of their lungs and having a great time. Lead singer/guitarist Walter Lee is a natural born frontman who demanded the lion’s share of the attention and held the crowd in the palm of his hand. That is until it came time for the guitar solo, then all eyes were firmly locked on Jay Scars. Not to be outdone, the rhythm section of drummer Keith Crash and bassist Chaz Graves had no trouble finding ways to grab their share of the attention either, with both even taking a little time to ham it up for pictures. Their rollicking set of goodtime Rock N Roll consisted of cuts like “To Be Loved,” “Since You’ve Been Gone” and their new single “I Hate You” from the band’s new EP Goodnight California, alongside a couple of covers that nearly brought the house down. The first being a rousing rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the other was their show stopping closer “Rebel Yell” by Billy Idol. Then finally, the wait was over as the lights dimmed and the intro music began. It was time for the man, the myth, the legend…the one and only Mr. Scott Stapp! And just like that, it was on! Right off the bat, you could see an intensity and newfound purpose burning in the eyes of Stapp, who roamed the stage like a man possessed by a mission. At most times, Stapp was so lost in his performance that his eyes were barely open as every vein in his body and neck throbbed and pulsed to the point you expected them to rupture at any moment. This was Stapp at his focused and revitalized best and the audience was the lucky benefactors of his gift. Attention must also be brought to the strength of his voice that night. With Stapp living clean and leaving cigarettes behind in favor of vaping, his voice sounded better that night than it did back when he toured Pittsburgh with Creed in his prime and that is saying a lot. Further attention and credit must be given to Stapp’s backing band. Who were filling very big shoes when you consider some of the people Stapp has played with in his past. They did so with a poise and grace seldom seen in players that young and they did so with the sense of urgency and gusto the songs needed and deserved. The powerhouse set had a handful of cuts from Stapp’s newest solo album, like “Slow Suicide,” “Hit Me More” and it’s title track “Proof of Life,” but the bulk of the material came from his time with Creed, including such mega hits as “My Own Prison,” “One,” “With Arms Wide Open,” “Higher,” “One Last Breath” and “My Sacrifice.” So as you can well imagine, absolutely no one went home unhappy. For those of you out there that may have written off Scott Stapp, it behooves you to give this talented artist one more chance or you may miss what may end up being one of the best shows of 2016. -Eric Hunker Head over to our photos page for exclusive photos of the show