Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Cure

This is classic Cure. Brilliant, infuriating, inspired, perverse and all points in between, all in one 90 minute set. There has to be some degree of understanding, some allowances made, though. When you've been around for almost 35 years and released 13 albums, whittling all that down to an hour and half must be hard. Especially when you are used to playing for anything up to three and a half hours. In turn, though, this makes it all the harder to understand why they choose to go with not one but three songs which each last in excess of seven minutes. That's 28% of the stage time gone on three numbers and you've still got most of your career to cover.

Infuriation rises on two counts, though. The first is that, when tickets went on sale, Robert Smith promised that this wouldn't be a show to promote the new album, '4.13 Dream'. Yet there are no fewer than six songs in this set from that album, few of which come anywhere close to the highlights of previous albums. Even if Smith wanted to emphasise the band's more recent work, was there really no room for songs such as 'alt.end' or 'Where the Birds Always Sing'? Stand either of those against the bland Cure-by-numbers of songs such as 'The Hungry Ghost' and you can easily see how off-target this set was.

Similarly, for all the protestations that there would be at least one song from each album, no song from 'Wild Mood Swings' got out of the starting gates.

On the other hand, as always with The Cure, the quality of the material and the brilliance of the performance transcends the irritations. 'From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea' is majestic, 'Disintegration' retains all of its brutal angst despite approaching it's 20th birthday and newie 'The Only One' really is everything good the band have ever done rolled into one. Onstage, Smith belies his age in a black hoodie and cargo pants whilst Simon Gallup seems to have turned into a 195os rocker. Porl Thompson, meanwhile, now looks like the bastard offspring of Richard O'Brien and Vivienne Westwood and stomps around the stage in heels higher than most of them women in the audience.

Then, right at the end, they go and spoil it all by changing 'Killing An Arab' to 'Killing Another'. This is political correctness gone mad - but then again, how fitting that they celebrate their legacy by tarnishing a part of it? Its very wrong, but it is very Cure.


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