The Cult at City National Grove

The Cult at City National Grove


Citi National Grove of Anaheim
Anaheim, CA

June 3, 2016

Photos and writing by

The-Cult-23It’s 2016. But you wouldn’t have known that at the CITI NATIONAL GROVE OF ANAHEIM last Friday night when beloved 80s band THE CULT took the stage and reached back through decades (and one millennium eve) to instantly set all time machines to “HOLYCRAP! IT’S 1985!”

Out on the road promoting their latest album (their 10th studio endeavor) HIDDEN CITY, The Cult haven’t seemed to skip a gothic/rock beat, despite their recent hiatus. This new album offers even die-hard Cult fans everything they have always loved about this iconic group – the clean, distinct, and memorable riffs of guitarist BILLY DUFFY (whose beautiful arsenal of guitars alone is worth the price of admission to the show) and the strong-yet-beautifully-haunting vocals of IAN ASTBURY which, together, clearly make every track on the new album quintessentially Cult.

And although those original facets of the band remain the same, since their heyday, the rest of the band has definitely evolved – seeing everyone from Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses) to Eric Singer (KISS) sit in on drums, and the likes of Billy Morrison (Billy Idol) and Chris Wyse (Ozzy, Ace Frehley) filling out the back end on bass. Joining Astbury and Duffy this time, however, around are current touring musicians DAMON FOX (on keyboards and guitar), GRANT FITZPATRICK (bass), and JOHN TEMPESTA (drums). Had it not been for the older crowd and the slightly older band (you wouldn’t know by Astbury’s agile and timeless Jim Morrison-like moves on stage), you probably wouldn’t notice that anything has changed – let alone the lineup – and might even continue to believe it was actually 1985. NO complaints here – that type of time-trip is welcome anytime in this post-mid-centenarian’s day!

Churning through new fare as well as their back-catalogue classics from their biggest albums, 1985’s LOVE and 1987’s ELECTRIC, fans were riveted (albeit surprisingly mellow) throughout the more than 90-minute set – and definitely perked up when the big hits were played, including “Wildflower”, “Rain”, “Sweet Soul Sister”, crowd favorite “She Sells Sanctuary”, and the night’s closer – “Love Removal Machine” – with its AC/DC-like riff that gets everyone’s fists in the air.

Yeah, you might THINK you don’t know that many Cult songs, until they actually play them. Then it all comes rushing back…no matter what decade it might really be.

SPOOKIEST MOMENT: The Cult’s new album Hidden City includes a song called “G.O.A.T.” – with repeating lyrics explaining the acronym as “Greatest of All Time”. Well, almost everyone knows that THE Greatest of All Time is boxer Muhammad Ali. And around exactly the same time this song was being played on stage, we were clicking onto facebook to live feed the last song of the Cult’s main set – the song immediately before “G.O.A.T.” on the set list – JUST as the news of Ali’s passing was hitting the airwaves. The band didn’t even know yet. EERIE. And yet kinda fitting for a band called The Cult…


You can watch a few live feed videos from the show here on our facebook:

SPOTTED IN THE CROWD: Lots of Cult fans for sure. And Ian Astbury’s very tall son Che Astbury (a So Cal local), riding a skateboard around the Grove’s parking lot pre-show (and apparently celebrating his 21st birthday on this actual night, according to his father’s announcement on stage)!


  • Wildflower
  • Dark Energy
  • Rain
  • Horse Nation
  • Hinterland
  • Lil’ Devil
  • Gone
  • Rise
  • Birds of Paradise
  • Deeply Ordered Chaos
  • Sweet Soul Sister
  • Fire Woman
  • Phoenix
  • She Sells Sanctuary


  • G.O.A.T.
  • Love Removal Machine


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