Monday, November 13, 2006

The Cult - Hampton Beach Ballroom 11/9/2006

The Cult
Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom
Hampton Beach, New Hampshire
W/the Bangkok Five and The Strays

Since about 1985 I have been a fan of The Cult. Some of my fondest memories and favorite records came from this band. The first song I learned on the bass guitar was "She Sells Sanctuary".

About 2 months ago a friend from highschool shot me an email that pretty much read as such:

Hey man what are you doing on November 9th? Dunno was my response. "We are going to see the Cult in New Hampshire". Okay very cool. I was supposed to go with this guy as well earlier this year but for some reason I couldn't make it. My bud (Steve) went on to say that he kinda went a little crazy on the ticket and that he got the "VIP" Package and in that we'd meet the band. Sign me up!!

Fast forward to last Thursday.

I met with Steve at his place of employ and we shot up 15 or so minutes from his office to the Hampton Beach area. For those of you that don't know about this area its beyond crazy during the summer and dead in the winter. It was a ghost town as we looked for a place to eat. We headed out of the area some to eat and then headed back. Kick ass parking space and we headed in. We had to hit the will call window to get the "passes" and what have you. After trying to get a camera in (no dice for him.but I got my smaller digi in) we hit the car again, then went into the venue.

I had never been there. Its a long HUGE room with the stage on the side about 1/2 down in to the room. We got there pretty early and stood thru the 2 opening bands. They were not horrid, but nothing to write home about either.

Finally the Cult hit the stage. It was about 10:15 and the band could have gone on at least 15 minutes earlier but they made us wait. The crowd, which was one for the ages I tell you. Running from the aging hipsters to the soccer moms and dads getting a night out to a dad with his 12 year old son in a cult shirt, we were ready to rock.

Opening with Lil Devil we were off to the races. Ian Astbury clung to his microphone and worked pretty hard to get us rolling. Billy Duffy, off to his left, solo'd in his trademark style. Drummer John Tempesta and Chris Wyse on bass (2 guys that have stuck around w/Ian and Billy) as well as a second guitar player Mike Dimkitch all played really well off one another.

Ian, who has a voice that I have loved for ages, seemed hesitant at times and often would sing a complete chorus a full octave lower. He seemed to speak more the lines of "Sweet Soul Sister" rather than try to get up in range. Musically the show is ton of fun. They hammered thru the whole catalog going oldest of the old to hitting a track off the most recent studio album (granted that was 2001).

Rather than going track to track here is the set w/ any notes on it.
Lil Devil
Sweet Soul Sister
Electric Ocean
The Witch
Spirtwalker (holy crap!!!)
Revolution (Ian dedicated this to our "new government and said Welcome back America")
Phoenix (smoked)
Edie (Ian and Billy solo acoustic)
Fire Woman
Peace Dog
Rise (this was great showing the last studio album had far more potential)
Wild Flower
Love Removal Machine
She Sells Sanctuary (still a top five greatest song ever for me personally)

So there it was. The show was fun and we jumped around like dorks and airjammed and fist pummped..I was a total domestic beer swillin rock fan tonight.

After the show the VIP passes were to get us back to meet the guys. We were told to stand "over here" for a few minutes. As we did this more people showed up. About 15 or so people and they had passes that were not the same as ours. They were just "after show" passes. We waited...and waited...and waited. A super obnoxious, drunk girl cuts in front of Steve in line and says "I am first to meet them!!!" She went on and on and Steve just said "Well it would be nice if you asked". Her response "I am cuter than you". Oh man..its been about 20 minutes since the band has been off the stage..its now just about midnight and we are waiting..(Oh and we both have at LEAST 1hr and 15 minute rides home). Finally a guy comes to us and says " and your guest (me) come with me". We follow the manager and the obnoxious girl grabs my arm and thinks she is coming w/us. We get about 1/2 way to the other side of the venue and Steve goes "She is not with us". The manager smiles and says "I figured that out!" We drop her off to the "other backstage" (where the aftershow pass people will go) and he takes us back.

We enter a small room and he said "let me make sure we are all set". He offers us a beer and John Tempesta is standing there. We exchange pleasantries and have a drink. The manager comes back..says "Okay we are ready".

We go around the bend and are greeted with:
"Guys..this is Billy Duffy". He was sitting on the couch and he stands right up, puts out his hand and we are all of a sudden "old buddies". He demands we sit..are we all set for food/drink? he asks. For the next 20 minutes its just me, steve billy and the tour manager. Its freaking awesome. We talk about past cult tours, we talk about Billys side projects. He seems impressed we know of
Coloursound and other works. He tells us that Mike Peters and he will be climbing to Mt. Everest base camp in the fall of 2007 and do some "recording" for something to do. I can't begin to tell you how down to earth he was.

I stared to wonder where Ian was though.

A few moments later Ian comes down the hall. Holy SHIT its Ian Astbury! Again we chat w/him for a few minutes. Ian is a lot quieter, and although "nice", part of me felt he would like to have cut this "experience" short and just got to bed. We talked about his work with the 21st Century Doors, his solo works (I asked when his 2nd solo record was coming out as I swear I read it was completed....its not). Ian and Billy both singed a bunch of cd sleeves for us and posed for some pictures. After about 40 minutes all told Steve and I realized it was time to let them go.
We did chat some with Chris Wyse as well. He told us he was starting a bass teaching web page and that we should shoot him a message (steve does web design). We talked about how highschools are dropping music programs too (not even sure how we got there but we all rolled our noses in disgust).

Oh, one other thing. The band is going to be shooting a DVD that will have all sorts of drop down menus to choose angles (as the dvd plays) as well as all angles of stage set up/break down from the beginning of the day to the end. It was going to be shot in NYC.

We say thanks over and over, shake hands and Ian shuffles off. Billy then says "I wish I had more to give you guys". The tour manager gives us a banana and a packet of coffee. Billy is looking high and low for "something". I say to him...we like guitars and I'd take your Gretsch.

Out in front of the stage Billy is looking for his road case or something. He wants to give us some guitar picks. He finally says "You guys are from MA right?" We respond with a yes and he asks if we want to be "guest listed" for Hartford CT on Saturday night. "I really think you guys are great fans and I get a good vibe from you so lemme get your names and I put you on the list." He then says the coolest part.."I realize it might be hard to make it so I would not be mad at all but if you made it that would be cool".

Billy Duffy just freaking "guest listed" us.

Steve and I headed off and when it came to Saturday we didn't go. It was an amazing chance to have 1 on 1 with them and even though he was gracious as can be it felt a long way out of the way to get a guitar pick honestly. I'd rather keep that memory and the time spent with them that getting a guitar pick.

Awesome time.

Here is a picture of all the stuff I got signed, the set list and the VIP pass.



At Tuesday, November 14, 2006 8:48:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your old age is showing. The kid I knew would have made that CT show at all cost! OLD FART!!!!

At Tuesday, November 14, 2006 1:06:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

And they played "Nirvana" in CT as well...


At Tuesday, November 14, 2006 1:53:00 PM , Blogger Sharon S said...

that sounds so frigging cool! Good job.


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