TVD Live Shots: The Cult at Eventim Apollo, 10/27

I’ve seen The Cult a dozen or so times over the years, but this would be my first time catching them in London. It’s quite a difference as they sold out the legendary Eventim Apollo (the old Hammersmith Ballroom), and the venue was packed to the gills. I’ve never seen a show there this full—you literally could not move. And for extra fun, I forgot my step stool, and the photographers had to shoot from the soundboard.

Now, this review may be slightly biased as The Cult are one of my all-time favorite bands—I celebrate their entire catalogue, even Ceremony, and the underrated self-titled record. If that wasn’t enough, they are touring in support of the 30th anniversary of Sonic Temple, the record that pretty much defined my teenage years.

Sonic Temple is a sonic masterpiece from start to finish. That’s what happened in the ’80s when Bob Rock produced your record. From the opening of “Sun King” to the epic “Fire Woman,” the power ballad for people who hate power ballads “Edie (Ciao Baby),” and of course the soaring chorus of “Sweet Soul Sister,” this record has it all. While early fans of the band would never recognize the transition from post-punk/ goth rock to heavy metal, the band was heading that way regardless. Did it even really matter what these guys did anyway? The songs from Love and Dreamtime fit perfectly into the evolution of the band’s setlist in a way that no one could have predicted. It just works.

Even though we were celebrating the juggernaut that is Sonic Temple, the record wasn’t played in its entirety, but there were 8 songs in the set. That left room for plenty of other favorites from over the years, but still not enough. Noticeably missing were “Peace Dog” and “Electric Ocean.” (By the way, I hope there’s an anniversary tour for Electric in the making. They seemed to have skipped over that one.) Surprisingly though, we did get 2 songs from Beyond Good and Evil, but I would have loved to hear more from the last 2 records. Seventeen songs are just not enough to celebrate this band properly. Maybe it’s time for “An Evening with The Cult.” Two 90-minute sets pulling equally from each record. (Yes, even from Ceremony.) And why not? Ian’s voice continues to be top-notch, and Billy, well, he’s always in fine form.

The Sonic Temple tour heads back to the States for additional dates in December. The Sonic Temple deluxe box set showed up on my door the week before the gig, and I must say it’s spectacular—a proper celebration of the landmark album. Inside this magical box is its own sort of sonic temple, including 3 pieces of blue vinyl and a cassette, plus tour memorabilia and ephemera (a replica of an original laminate, backstage pass, original press releases, label copy and more). It’s numbered and limited to 3,500 pieces worldwide and contains 40 tracks, 4 of which are previously unreleased. LP 1 and 2 contain the album as originally released. LP 3 contains Live At Wembley recorded by the BBC, and the included cassette contains limited-release demos.

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