John Carpenter, Liverpool Olympia, 28/10/2016 – Liverpool Music Week

There’s very few concerts that will surely leave you breathless, tonight’s (28th) headline appearance from legendary filmmaker and “The Master of Horror” John Carpenter was one of them.

John Carpenter is a filmmaker like no other, not only does the man have so many legendary films but he’s also composed a unquestionably classic soundtrack to all. Tonight, Carpenter preformed several of his themes along with select cuts from his two albums, Lost Themes and Lost Themes II.

Shortly after stage time, the lights finally lowered. While I was standing in the lovely Olympia, waiting for what felt forever, the suspense built. It was strange, having no support built it up even more. Finally, the man himself walked onto the stage followed by his band.

Opening with “Escape From New York Main Titles”, Carpenter and his very able band was accompanied by a large background screen, showing scenes from each film wonderfully. Carpenter dragged us into his world and was surely in his element. He followed the opener with a heavy “Assault on Precinct 13 Main Titles”.

Just five songs in, after playing the duo “Vortex” and “Mystery” from his 2015 non-soundtrack debut Lost Themes, Carpenter showed simply how astonishing he could be live with “The Fog Main Titles”, in-which amazingly “fog” smoke came from the dark stage onto the adoring crowd, a magical moment.

Afterwards, the band struck a cord before the screen behind shown a message from his cult classic They Live, the second hit the entire act including the man himself proceeded to put on sunglasses (of which lead actor Roddy Piper wears in the film, to seen the real world), a moment for which the crowd erupted in cheers and along with the scenes behind them, cheered along (especially when it came to the film’s greatest fight scene ever).

It seemed that combo was so heavenly and undefeatable in terms of what Carpenter could play (apart from expected encore of the Halloween theme), Carpenter decided to cover composer Ennio Morricone‘s masterful theme for 1981’s The Thing. Even just a song later, they band preformed the theme “Pork Chop Express” for his ’80s action classic Big Trouble in Little China.

After more offerings from the astounding Lost Themes albums, Carpenter pulled the cat out of the bag early, just before leaving the stage he preforms “Halloween Main Titles”, which still after almost forty years sends shivers down everybody’s spine.

Carpenter and his band left before their encore, after spending over an hour in action. He returns, bringing a four song encore of “Prince of Darkness Titles”, “Virtual Survivor”, “Purgatory” and just before ending, thanked his faithful followers and stated “drive home safe, you never know what could be waiting in the dark” before exploding into the main titles to his car-based horror Christine.

After an hour-and-a-half long set, with theatrics involved, it’ll be hard for this one to ever be topped and will very likely be the defining, highlight set of Liverpool Music Week 2016.

Words by Jack Cinnamond.

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