Death Cult @ O2 Institute, Birmingham – Tuesday 14th November 2023


Long before Rick Rubin, American accents and the arena rock behemoth that was Sonic Temple, there was Death Cult, the seeds of what would eventually grow into The Cult. Tonight offered an opportunity to perform material that Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy had long since discarded, a chance for some in the crowd to relive their youth and for others to experience these songs live for the very first time. And mid-way through the set one very special guest joined in the fun, ensuring this would be an occasion that would live long in the memory.

Keeping everything authentic to the time period the band performed as a stripped back four piece, the lighting was kept to a minimum and Duffy used only his White Falcon throughout the 75 minute set. Beginning with ’83rd Dream’ it was clear that Astbury was in good vocal form and a positive mood, a far cry from the disgruntled figure on last years arena tour with Alice Cooper. The songs were presented very much as they were back in the day, no additional solos, improvisation or enhancements, and it all made for a captivating performance as they moved through ‘Gods Zoo’, Ghost Dance’ and ‘A Flower in the Desert’.

There was a twist in store as original bassist Jamie Stewart was welcomed on stage to rejoin his former band mates. Although long retired from music, he has made sporadic guest appearances with The Cult over the years, and tonight he stuck around for ‘Resurrection Joe’ and ‘Horse Nation’, his very presence lifting the show to even greater heights. Having promised to play songs up to and including the Love album, it was no surprise that concert warhorses ‘Rain’ and ‘She Sells Sanctuary’ were saved until the end. Tonight, even these very familiar songs sounded revitalised as they were performed with a seemingly new found energy and enthusiasm. The fan and critical reception to this tour means there will inevitably be calls for them to do it all over again, but if this return to Death Cult does prove to be a one off then it was an unforgettable experience.

83rd Dream
Gods Zoo
Brothers Grimm
Ghost Dance
A Flower in the Desert
Resurrection Joe
Horse Nation
Go West (Crazy Spinning Circles)
Hollow Man
She Sells Sanctuary