Last night I went with two friends to catch The Cult at House of Blues Dallas (Thank you, Renee Harrison!). It was the “Electric 13” Tour, which meant they’d be performing 1987’s Electric album start to finish, as well as a set of classics and newer songs as well. When we got there the place was filling up fast, and the atmosphere was, well, electric. I played the hell out of this record as a teenager, and that excitement took over me as soon as I walked in.
The band took the stage around 9:45 with “Wild Flower”, Billy Duffy’s riffs cutting through the air, and we were off! Ian Astbury’s voice never sounded better on songs like “Lil’ Devil”, “Electric Jacket”, and “Love Removal Machine”. The band was tight, with drummer John Tempesta laying down the backbeat, rhythm guitarist James Stevenson layering on more riffs, and bassist Chris Wyse driving the groove machine. All three were lively and animated all show. “King Contrary Man” had arguably Billy’s best solo of the night, too. In place of “Born To Be Wild” they decided to perform “Zap City”, a great song from the 1986 Peace album sessions. Actually getting to see/hear “Memphis Hip Shake” live was something I never imagined, and if possible, it snakes along even better in person.
After a very short break, The Cult returned for set #2. Opening with one of my two all-time favorites, “Rain”, this one really got people going, and everyone, me included, was singing along word for word. “Sweet Soul Sister” from 1989’s Sonic Temple was sandwiched between new songs “Honey From a Knife” and “Lucifer” off of 2012’s Choice of Weapon, which if you don’t have it, stop right now, go get it, then finish reading this. I hope you did it, because we operate on the honor system here at A&GS.
Reaching back to 1985’s Love again, we were treated to “The Phoenix”, a song I’ve never heard live, but have always loved. Apparently everyone in the crowd felt the same way, too! The super-thick riffs of “Rise” (dedicated to Lemmy on this night) from 2001’s Beyond Good and Evil really shot the energy level through the roof. It is such an amazing song, especially live!
And then…Billy did it again. When I think of some of THE best song openings ever, “She Sells Sanctuary” is easily Top 5. You know it, too. As you’re reading this, it’s going through your head right now, isn’t it? This is my other all-time favorite Cult song, so much so that my old cover band in Philly used to open with it a lot. Of course, I couldn’t sing it half as good as Ian does, but I always felt the spirit of The Cult within me when I did perform it. And it was clearly within everyone at the House of Blues Dallas last night, bringing the house down. Billy is CRIMINALLY underrated as a guitarist, in my opinion, and one of the guys I went with last night (guitar player) readily acknowledged that he is, in fact, a Guitar God.
You’d think that after two monster sets, they’d say goodnight and call it quits. You’d think that, but you’d be wrong. For the encores, we got “Nirvana”, “Spiritwalker” (WHAAT?!?), and finally, “Sun King” to close out a rockin’ show, and over two hours of Cult-y goodness. Hollywood couldn’t have scripted a more perfect night, or perfect show. Nights like this remind me how fortunate I am to be able to share this stuff with you guys. Long Live The Cult!!