Hyde Park (7/7/2018)
The Cure celebrated their 40th Anniversary by playing a hit filled, career spanning set to 65,000 people in a sweltering Hyde Park.
As the sun blazes down and chants of ‘It’s coming home, footballs coming home” fill my ears, it’s hard to imagine I’m in London, let alone alongside 65,000 other people waiting to witness The Cure celebrate their 40th anniversary. It seems the setting has even surprised frontman Robert Smith as he jokingly emerges into the sweltering 30+ degree heat with his fingers shaped like a cross. “I really can’t talk until the sun goes down,” Smith said. “It’s taking all my energy not to dissolve.” and true to his word it wasn’t until over an hour and a half later when the sunset did the iconic goth pinup utter another spoken word, he did however, present the audience with what could be considered the ultimate, crowd-pleasing Cure set, which ticked every box.
Opening the evening identically to adored album Disintegration (whose tracks featured quite heavily throughout the evening) with an atmospheric rendition of ‘Plainsong’, a sonic masterpiece which rightfully set the scene for the show. This was swiftly followed by ‘Pictures Of You’ which saw thousands of voices echo Smith’s every word, something which would be consistent throughout the evening. Smith himself was on fine form, hitting each note perfectly, the audience able to hear one of Britain’s greatest songwriters with clarity as well as feel every inch of emotion in his poetic, lovelorn lyrics.
The first half of the evening consisted of a selection of classic Cure hits such as the utterly beautiful and moving ‘Lovesong’ mixed in with deeper cuts such as the captivating, electric ‘A Night Like This’. The Cure are an unique band due to the fact they can effortlessly mix in lovestruck songs such as the former with some of the most upbeat and joyous tracks you could witness live.
Early on we are treated to the most uplifting series of three songs I have ever experienced. Starting with ‘Push’ and it’s searing guitar riffs which immediately rejuvenate the crowd, everyone spontaneously clapping and cheering alongside the group. This was followed by what can only be considered the brightest and enchanting notes ever played on an instrument came blasting across the park, all originating from Smith’s acoustic guitar as he led everyone in an anthemic rendition of ‘In Between Days’, throw in beloved classic hit ‘Just Like Heaven’ and you could have almost considered this segment ‘encore’ level in quality.
Like previously mentioned it wasn’t all uplifting joyous pop hits as Smith and co. delighted the more hardcore ensemble fans with a few select choices like ‘Jumping From Someone Else’s Train’ and ‘Grinding Halt’, both getting a live outing for the first time in 7 years. The more desolate and chilling works also got an airing throughout the middle section of the set, it seems almost fitting for the sun to set as the chilling ‘From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea’ and desolate ‘Disintegration’ blare out.
When the group returned for the encore, now under the cover of darkness, Smith seemed rejuvenated. With the moonlight giving him life, he thanked the audience for spending the last 40 years with the group “Of course 40 years ago this weekend it was the first time we played as The Cure, in The Rocket in Crawley. If any of you had asked me then what will you be doing in 40 years’ time, I think I would have been wrong in my answer…. It’s thanks to everyone around me that I’m still here. This last bunch of songs is for everyone that’s still here, who came on the journey.”
And what a bunch of songs it was, I’m not sure if you can call 10 songs an encore, lets be honest some artists play less in a single set, but those final 40 minutes for me personally really summarised what has made The Cure such a lasting force over the past four decades, from the harrowing, stripped back yet communal feeling ‘Lullaby’ engulfs you in, to the pitter-patting of ‘The Caterpillar’ with its melody full of childlike wonder. Quite, literally in fact as children perched on their father's shoulders gleefully shout “oooh oooh oooh” alongside the band.
By this point you’d forgotten how many hits the group actually have tucked away in there arsenal but one by one they all appeared, each opening note making the crowd gasp, before swiftly turning to screams of joy. Especially during ‘Friday In Love’ in which Smith himself exuberantly declared “It’s the wrong day but… WHO CARES!”, chuckling to himself as he launched into without a doubt the greatest ever 90’s pop song.
The feeling of pure jubilation effortlessly continued as the band tore through ‘Close To Me’ and ‘Why Can’t I Be You’ before ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ starting to bring the night to a conclusion. The group had one more surprise up their sleeve, however, as they finished literally at the very start of their career with original singles ’10:15 Saturday Night’ and ‘Killing An Arab’, both played at an increased, almost aggressive pace making for an energetic and spiteful finale.
Despite missing maybe a couple of hits ‘The Lovecats’ and ‘Lets Go To Bed’ most notably (most likely due to the stringent curfew imposed by Hyde Park shows) The Cure still delivered perhaps the perfect setlist. Over the course of 2 and a half hours the group braved scorching heat to deliver one of their finest performances, Smith was adamant he wanted to celebrate the bands anniversary with something special and tonight he achieved his goals and much more.
2. Pictures Of You
4. A Night Like This
5. The Walk
6. The End Of The World
9. In Between Days
10. Just Like Heaven
11. If Only Tonight We Could Sleep
12. Play For Today
13. A Forest
14. Shake Dog Shake
16. Fascination Street
17. Never Enough
18. From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea
21. The Caterpillar
22. Friday I'm In Love
23. Close to Me
24. Why Can't I Be You?
25. Boys Don't Cry
26. Jumping Someone Else's Train
27. Grinding Halt
28. 10:15 Saturday Night
29. Killing An Arab