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Fan Reviews | Hammersmith Apollo, London, UK

The Cult at Hammersmith Apollo - 21/1/2011

review by Fan Club Member Maria Savva

photo // Burak Cingi

As soon as I arrived at The Cult’s gig at Hammersmith Apollo (which shall henceforth be called ‘Hammersmith Odeon’ by proclamation of the great Ian Astbury), I was immediately reminded how popular this band are.  Fans were packed into the venue up to the back doors.  I prefer to be able to see the stage, so after finding a few gaps in the crowd I could squeeze through, I eventually my way forward and managed to find a great spot somewhere in the midsection of the stalls, with a fantastic view of the stage, thanks to the sloping floors in the theatre.  Hammersmith ‘Odeon’ is one of the best venues for gigs because you can more of less see the stage from wherever you are seated/standing.  I remember I was once at the very back row in the top tier for a Thunder gig -- Row Z , back in the ‘90s, and still had an excellent view of the stage.

The Cult got on stage just after 9:30 pm, and kicked off the show with ‘Every Man and Woman is a Star’ -- a catchy number from the band's newest offerings.  We were then taken back in time with ‘Rain’, still one of my favourites.  I remember reading an interview with Astbury in the ‘90s when he said that he would be happy never to play that song again -- he may have been misquoted.  I’m just glad that they still play it; it’s a definite crowd pleaser.
Highlights for me included ‘Saints are Down’ -- not a song that they usually play, but was sung with such passion that it really made an impact.  I also enjoyed hearing ‘Go West’ played again.  I was happy to find that I remembered all the words, so was able to sing along -- one of my favourite activities at gigs.
‘White’ and the new songs  ‘Embers’ and ‘Until The Light Takes Us’, went down well and sounded great.  I must say that I am very much liking the new material.
They rocked da house with ‘Wildflower’, ‘She Sells Sanctuary’ and the incomparable ‘Love Removal Machine’ (Astbury said something like: the reason they are still going strong is because they can make songs like that -- so true).
We were treated to an extended encore of three songs, ‘Rise’, ‘Spiritwalker’ and a fabulous rendition of The Doors’ ‘Break on Through’.
All in all, an awesome gig.  The Cult were on top form and seemed to be enjoying the gig as much as the crowd. 

I’ve seen a few people commenting on Facebook that they would have preferred more of the hits to have been played, but personally I liked the mix of songs, and thought The Cult played a set of new and old songs that went together well. 
It must be hard for a band like The Cult who have such an extensive back catalogue full of excellent songs, to pick 20 or so of those to play at a gig. 
At last year’s Sonisphere Festival, I remember Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson explaining that they wanted to play their new songs and were tired of having to play the same songs over and over. 
Bands such as The Cult and Iron Maiden are stuck with this problem; limited time at a gig, wanting to please the fans, but also wanting to play their new music without feeling obligated to regurgitate big hits from years gone by. 
I think The Cult excelled themselves at Hammersmith on Friday. 
The current line-up boasts a group of talented musicians who I am sure will be providing us with the best music for years to come. 
Astbury stated that the band would soon be going back into the studio to record a new album.  I’m very much looking forward to hearing it as, in my opinion, they seem to have been going through a definite renaissance in the past couple of years, producing ever more intense and captivating songs. 

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