The Cult | 11.29.07

live_cult_sm.jpgThe energy in The Pageant was indescribable—the frenzy of a thousand fans who had waited since 1985 to hear these songs performed.







The Pageant, St. Louis

I remember the first time I heard a recording of British rockers The Cult, following the release of their second album, Love. In 1985, there were no other rock bands that sounded like this. Amid the spandex-clad hair band craze of the 80s, The Cult stood out as something truly unique—a raw, heavy rock band with elements of both punk and classic rock, but with a pop sensibility. Fast forward to 1987, my junior year of high school. I distinctly remember driving to school in my friend’s convertible with the top down blaring "Love Removal Machine" from The Cult’s most celebrated album, the Rick Rubin-produced Electric. These were the anthems of our youth.

Unfortunately, I never got to see The Cult perform live in their heyday; so to say I was excited by the prospect of seeing them 20 years later is an understatement. I could hardly contain myself—and thankfully I was not disappointed.

Sure, after more than 20 years of touring, recording and rocking, charismatic front-man Ian Asbury’s voice is a bit rougher around the edges than it once was—but he still commands an audience like only a true professional can, and his fans positively embraced him. And the incredible skills of lead guitarist Billy Duffy are definitely not worse for wear—his piercing riffs sent ear-gasms rippling through the crowd all night.

The Cult rocked it hard from the very first note, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind that they still "had it." Right up front, they gave us the taste of Electric that we’d craved for so long with "Electric Ocean" and "Lil’ Devil" back to back. One of my pet peeves is going to see a classic band with a lot of hits, and having them avoid all of them in favor of promoting their latest album. I thank The Cult even more for not being one of those bands. They did play a few select songs from their first release in six years, Born Into This ("I Assasin," "Dirty Little Rockstar"), but chose also to give the crowd what it truly wanted: to hear some of their favorite songs of all time performed live by one of their favorite bands in an intimate venue.

Top radio hits like "Firewoman" and "Edie (Ciao Baby)" from Sonic Temple fared well out of the studio and revved up the crowd. Hardcore Cult fans were also treated to a few choice cuts from Love including "Revolution," "The Phoenix" and the classic, "She Sells Sanctuary," truly one of the greatest rock songs ever written. The energy in The Pageant during this song was indescribable—the frenzy of a thousand fans who had waited since 1985 to hear it performed. They completely rocked it.

The Cult closed their spine-tingling set with Electric anthem "Love Removal Machine," causing fans to jump up and down, throw their hands in the air and bang their heads in approval. As I walked away sweaty and satisfied, all I could think was that after 20 years, The Cult was so worth the wait. | Amy Burger

Photo by Todd Owyoung

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