20 Years Ago: Creed Plays Disastrous Concert in Chicago
It wouldn't be official for another year and a half, but Creed effectively ended Dec. 29, 2002 on stage in suburban Chicago.
The quartet's concert at the AllState Arena in Rosemont, Ill., (formerly known as the Rosemont Arena) has become a legend the band members would just as soon forget. Frontman Scott Stapp was, by his own admission, "whacked out on" the powerful anti-inflammatory Prednisone, which he'd been taking to help heal from injuries suffered in a car accident the previous April. It left him bloated and tired -- "exhausted," in his words -- and he didn't help matters by drinking a considerable amount of whiskey before the show.
At the time, too, tensions were fraught within the band, which was riding high on the strength of three consecutive multi-platinum albums -- the most recent being 2001's Weathered, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and launched the hits "One Last Breath" and the Grammy Award-winning "My Sacrifice."
Listen to 'My Sacrifice'
"The Weathered shows were amazing," Stapp wrote in his 2012 memoir Sinner's Creed, "but behind the scenes the band was falling apart. Rumors, resentments and petty jealousies were getting out of control. People who were concerned about their own interests were trying to divide us, playing to our already over-blown egos. The stress of all the drama got to me." Things got so bad, Stapp claimed, that guitarist Mark Tremonti even repositioned his stage monitors to keep the singer away from him.
Stapp had also been diagnosed with a pre-node callus on one of his vocal cords and advised by the doctor to take a long break from singing. This, of course, did not go down well with anyone else on the Creed team, and the tour continued until the famous mess that was Rosemont.
According to four attendees who sued Creed afterwards, along with the band's management, Stapp appeared "so intoxicated and/or medicated" that he was unable to sing or perform adequately. "Stapp left the stage on several occasions during songs for long periods of time, rolled around on the floor of the stage in appeared to pass out while on stage during the performance." Some accounts said Stapp laid down and fell asleep at one point.
In his memoir, Stapp said he was moved to recalcitrance during the fourth song, "Who's Got My Back?," when he told the audience, "'I don't think these guys (in the band) have my back'...And with that I stretched out on the floor, my back flat on the ground, and sang the song in a supine position. A few fans thought I had fallen down drunk. That wasn't the case, but I was definitely inebriated...Because of my intoxication, I made a point publicly that should have remained private. I performed the entire show, but I was far from my best." The concert was actually cut short after seven songs.
Creed performed a full show in Philadelphia two years later, on New Year's Eve, but after a prolonged period of inactivity formally announced its break-up during June of 2004. The fans' lawsuit, meanwhile, would be dismissed but did prompt a response from Creed that read, "The band has heard that you are unhappy with the quality of the recent Creed show in Chicago. We apologize if you don't feel that the show was up to the very high standards set by our previous shows in Chicago...There has been much concern about Scott’s health, and we want to assure everyone that he is doing very well and is taking a much needed break at home in Orlando....For now we hope that you can take some solace in the fact that you definitely experienced the most unique of all Creed shows and may have become part of the unusual world of rock and roll history!"
Stapp told MTV in 2004, "Basically the people who sued just wanted the press and attention and money. Everybody didn't sue; it wasn't a class-action suit. I think what got Mark upset was that it was his hometown and two people in the newspapers were bashing his band."
During the off time Stapp recorded a solo album, 2005's The Great Divide and toured on his own while Tremonti and drummer Scott Phillips reunited with bassist Brian Marshall, who'd been thrown out of Creed in 2000, to form the band Alter Bridge. Almost exactly seven years after announcing their breakup, Creed returned, reuniting for a tour and a new album, Full Circle, in 2009. The reunion lasted into 2012 and the group has been on hiatus ever since, with no apparent inclination to resume.
"There's always talk, but it's tough because we have such a tight schedule," Tremonti told UCR in 2021. "If the Creed thing were to happen I think it would be more of a, 'Hey guys, can you carve out 50 days to do a tour?' 'Cause it's been so long since a Creed record I think we would go out with just a tour and see how people respond to the band being back on stage, and if people are clamoring for a record, who knows? You never say no to anything. I said no to the Creed thing years ago and then we went and did a reunion so, yeah, who knows?"