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Scott Stapp // Live @ Manchester Music Hall // 8.7.19

Article and Photos by: Linda Carlson


Lexington, KY – To say that Scott Stapp has had a rocky road in the 2000’s is a serious understatement.  Following the meteoric rise of Creed in the 1990s and its fall in the early 2000s, Stapp launched a solo career but also suffered through a series of well-publicized tragedies involving mental health issues complicated by addiction and substance abuse.  After receiving therapy and support, Stapp has come through with a new album, The Space Between The Shadows, and a fresh start.

Uncertain of what to expect, coupled with the burning memory of Stapp’s video rants laced with paranoia etched in my mind, I approached this concert with trepidation, curiosity and a good deal of hope.  There’s much emphasis these days on mental health awareness and treatment, and my hope was that Stapp came through the dark days with renewed vigor, positivity and good health.

Scott Stapp

Following openers Weapons of Anew and Messer, Stapp took the stage with conviction, strength and absolute confidence.  Gone is the wildly mussed long hair, replaced by a sleek, elegant look reminiscent of a young James Dean.  Stapp is lean and trim, and that voice…you know, that awesome baritone voice….belted as emphatically and powerfully as ever.  Possessed these days with a renewed passion for performing and a commitment to giving back, the set was peppered with familiar Creed tunes (“With Arms Wide Open,” “My Sacrifice,” “Higher”) and newer songs (“Purpose for Pain,” “Survivor”) that clearly reflect the tumultuous road he has traveled.

Scott Stapp

Stapp talked frequently with the audience, expressing gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity to perform again, for his wife and for his sobriety.

When the band came out for their encore, Stapp spent some time talking to fans about the children’s charity he is promoting, ChildFund International, which aims to pair children in need in developing countries with sponsors.  Stapp invited fans to volunteer to sponsor a child, asking them to raise their hands to receive individual packets that each profiled a specific child in need.  Recognizing that people, in the moment, might volunteer and later be unable to follow through with their commitment, Stapp reassuringly told the crowd that if they changed their mind that night, to return their packets to the display at the rear of the venue so that the children could be matched with another sponsor….”It’s OK.  It’s really OK,” he said with compassion.

Scott Stapp

Overall, it was a night of redemption and renewed commitment for Stapp.  The performance was strong, the energy elevated, all well worth the price of admission and the 90-minute drive.

Check Stapp’s website for tour dates near you:

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Linda Carlson
Linda has been photographing people since she was ten. Forever intrigued by the complex beauty of the human form, she brings the eye of a portraitist to the unpredictability and spectacle of the concert scene.

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