Grace made only passing reference to her revelation, letting the songs from the band's forthcoming album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, carry the load.
"This goes to out to anyone who's ever felt like people try to put them in a box," she said as a preface to the title track. Fans who'd already learned the lyrics from YouTube shouted along, fists in the air, as she sang, "You want them to see you like they see every other girl?/?They just see a faggot."
Although the album's subject is the life of a transgender prostitute, there was no mistaking the reflections of Grace's own journey. "The Ocean," which the band saved for the home stretch, was more transparent, although the five-year-old song has only become revelatory in retrospect. "If I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman," Grace sang to a chorus of approving cheers. What complaints the crowd had were of a mundane variety: fewer new songs, more hits. "Play some old stuff, Tom!" shouted a fan in one of the band's T-shirts. The man behind tapped him gently on the shoulder: "It's Laura now."
Although singer Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy are the only constant members, the night's headliner, the Cult, has built a nearly 30-year career on a determined kind of stasis. The finish on the Cult's heavy rock songs has shifted with the times, but the substance — Astbury's throaty wail, Duffy's fleet-fingered solos — hasn't changed much. "We're kind of the comeback kids," Astbury said, introducing a song from the new album, Choice of Weapon. But it felt more like they'd never left, or moved at all.