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John Carpenter - Warwick Arts Centre. Warwick, 27/10/2016

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 8 / 2 / 2017

John Carpenter - Warwick Arts Centre. Warwick, 27/10/2016


Anthony Strutt at the Warwick Arts Centre finds that Horror Master John Carpenter proves that he can command a crowd even in a different setting with his soundtrack music on his debut UK tour

I first saw a John Carpenter film in 1978. Before music grabbed me, my first love was horror films, usually the horrible ones that scared the shit out of most people. That said, I don't like violence for the sake of it. I like a good story with the fear lying beneath. Many of my happiest hours have been spent in the dark in a quiet cinema. I saw 'Halloween', which had come out that year, as a new release, and, as Carpenter's career was only three films long then, then I checked the other two out, 'Assault on Precinct 13' from 1976, which has the air of Hitchcock about it, and the rather oddball 'Dark Star' from 1974. After 'Halloween' John Carpenter got a taste for true horror, and has remained one of my favourite directors ever since. That said though there are even bigger fans than me. Unfortunately getting to the venue itself and the thirty four miles from Leicester to Warwick proved a total nightmare. I worked out that I could get two buses to the venue. Well, I did do that but it is a journey I never want to do again. I ended up leaving Leicester at 1.45 p.m. and getting to the venue by about 4.30 p.m. not really knowing where I was going. But the bus stopped right outside the venue and my wife collected me afterwards, although it again proved another nightmare getting home as we have no sat nav and two freeways were up being repaired. Within a few minutes of getting my ticket, which was six rows from the front and had a great view, I saw a few fans hanging around a door and soon John Carpenter stepped out. He signed two items per person and I had a photograph taken with him, which I didn't the last time I met him in 1994 at the UK premiere of his film 'In the Mouth of Madness'. John has always scored his own films which adds much to the dread and fear of his films, so it was a joy to mix my two loves together. While we were waiting for the gig to start about twenty odd people attended the official meet and greet at the cost of £120 each. As this was going on, I looked at and admired the best merchandise stall I have ever seen. It had posters, coloured tour vinyl, CDs, regular signed and unsigned vinyl, a T-shirt for all the major films, a 'They Live' fleece, and a tour T-shirt which I bought along with a red vinyl 'Halloween' 12" re-recorded by the current band. The gig itself was way beyond the average rock show. As is his recorded work, it is synth-based, with enough atmosphere and choppy guitar to give the average person a nightmare. We got a thirteen song set with a four song encore. It was billed as being a two and a half hour show but it was seventy-five minutes in the end. We got a mixture of his greatest film hits, with backdrops of mini-versions of the films played across a cinema-like screen, which worked very well. The highlight of the gig for me was when he said, "I'm John Carpenter. I make horror films. I love horror films," and went straight into 'Halloween', one of the best themes I have ever heard. In the end we got ten film themes with the rest drawing from his albums, 'Lost Themes' and 'Lost Themes 2'. This was very special and a true one-off event. He is currently working on his third album, so here's hoping he tours again. Thank you, John Carpenter.

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John Carpenter - Warwick Arts Centre. Warwick, 27/10/2016

John Carpenter - Warwick Arts Centre. Warwick, 27/10/2016

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