The Goodyear Theater, a new venue in Akron’s gentrifying East End Project, is quickly becoming the newest go-to house for concerts. Originally built as part of the massive Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company’s international headquarters, it served as a meeting place for employees and executives. When the company shuttered their offices in the Akron area, the complex sat dormant for several years. A local investment firm got involved and, within the last few years, has breathed life into the old dame. Luxury apartments now reside where offices once stood. A large Hilton hotel inhabits the back of the parking lot and a cavernous gymnasium (called Goodyear Hall), sitting directly behind the theater, also serves as a concert hall; it recently hosted both Hillary Clinton and Brett Michaels in its larger capacity.
Last Friday the theater held a captive audience there to witness ’80s sensation post-punk outfit The Cult. Fronted by erstwhile member Ian Astbury and guitar sensation Billy Duffy, the middle-aged crowd was transported back to the late 1980s; many of them donned Cult concert shirts that had been worn for the better half of their crows’ feet-laden lives.
The seventeen-song set started off with “Wild Flower” and “Rain” and didn’t really let up until about a hundred minutes later, when they closed with a four-tune encore, including “Love Removal Machine” and an impromptu “Happy Birthday” sing-a-long to founding member Duffy.
Highlights of the evening were, of course, “Fire Woman” and “She Sells Sanctuary.” Astbury’s voice was spot-on; the timbre may be a little deeper but it hasn’t changed much since their halcyon days. Duffy’s a phenomenal axe man; he’s never been one to engage the audience when he plays, but it’s clear that he gets lost in the music.
For more information on the impressive Goodyear Theater and their upcoming concert slate, please click here.