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THE CULT has been on indefinite hiatus since 2001, when they toured in support of their album Beyond Good and Evil. Over the past five years, IAN ASTBURY slipped into JIM MORRISON’s snakeskin boots and brought a little Sun King slither to THE DOORS, while guitarist BILLY DUFFY dedicated himself to his band CIRCUS DIABLO.
After reading a quote by Astbury in a February issue of Newsweek, in which he stated, “The Cult needs the world; the world needs the Cult,” I was ecstatic to learn that the guys had decided on a whim to get together without the backing of an album and tour the USA.
Although The Cult has been in my top five favorite bands for a good while, it doesn’t mean I’m blind to their shortcomings. The first half of the show at the Nokia Theatre was exciting, not because the band played particularly well, but because I’m such a fan girl.
There was no opening act, so The Cult got onstage early and began with “Lil Devil,” followed by “Sweet Soul Sister” and their RICK RUBIN-produced electro grunge number, “The Witch.” After a couple songs in, the band finally began to look as if they might even be enjoying themselves. Ian made light-hearted remarks about them having been compared to POISON in a recent write-up, and commented that the tambourines he was throwing out into the audience were incredibly cheap at $2.99 a pop.
Next, The Cult played “Brother Wolf, Sister Moon,” which included a mini-cello solo by rhythm guitarist CHRIS WYSE. The energy in the house really became electric during the following song: “Peace Dog.” From then on, the rest of the concert just seemed to get better and better.
Billy’s guitar sound on “Rise” was monstrously heavy, and “Wildflower” was as cheeky as ever. At one point Ian proclaimed that this, the last night of the tour, was indeed the best night overall. But as if to counter the cynics, he mentioned that he really meant it and wasn’t just saying it to get the crowd going. Soon after the deliciously cock rocky “Fire Woman,” The Cult took their bows and left the stage.
The encore began with an acoustic version of “Edie (Ciao Baby).” Ian’s voice was beautifully rugged yet powerful and the song was even more melancholic than usual, with him and Billy sitting in the spotlight on the darkened empty stage.
The rest of the band came back out to play an amazing version of my absolute favorite Cult song: the super sexy spooky psych-out, “Phoenix.” Former WHITE ZOMBIE drummer JOHN TEMPESTA really got going during this and the second part of the encore, where Ian gave “She Sells Sanctuary” the credit for inspiring an entire gothic fashion movement.
They then ended the show on a sleazy high note, with another classic, “Love Removal Machine.” I can now only hope that, contrary to Ian’s vow in 1989’s “New York City” to never return, especially since Hell’s Kitchen is no longer a ‘DMZ,’ he and Billy will play the city again soon in support of a brand new album.
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