The Cure - 40th Anniversary Show - BST Hyde Park

The Cure - 40th Anniversary Show - BST Hyde Park

by jessicajolly / Jul 09, 2018 / 0 comments
Date: 
Saturday, 7 July 2018

photo by Dave J Hogan

Few sights will be funnier this festival season than watching Goth kids hide in the remote areas of shade that Hyde Park had to offer on a sweltering 30 degree London day, glaring at colourful Pride attendees and beer drenched football fans. That’s right… Pride, England winning the quarter final, and The Cure’s 40th anniversary show were all on the same Saturday. But the misery the poor black souls endured was made worth it, as The Cure gave a magical, heart-wrenching, career spanning set that encapsulated the last half century of Gothness. Boys don’t cry, but boy I sure did.

The band entered an hour before sunset, Robert Smith proclaiming he wasn’t going to talk until sun disappeared as it was turning him to dust. He didn’t need to say much, as the music speaks for itself, but when he did his banter was so sweet it was like spending the evening with your favourite cross-dressing uncle.

His vocals were as clear and boyish as they are on the recordings. An older woman next to me insisted that he sounded exactly the same as when she first saw him in the early 80s. The band is as good as they’ve ever been, bringing fresh sounds to the tracks without changing much at all. It was such a high level of musicianship, the audience was able to act as a conglomerate conductor, waving their arms to express each beat they had memorised from repeated plays.

The biggest testament to just how brilliant this music is, and how relevant it remains, is the generational span of the ticket holders. I stood next to a group of nine year old girls who were losing their minds. They had a synchronised dance routine to “Lullabye.” Just behind me was a couple in their 70s, boogying throughout the epic 2 and a half hour set. The hits were as passionate as they were cleanly executed, the B material surprising and accessible. Smith is clearly one of those performers who never gets sick of his material. How could he, when the material is The Cure? He walked off stage at the end with a huge smile on his face, identical to the one he wears at the end of the video for "Inbetween Days." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scif2vfg1ug

In retrospect, after the enormous high of the performance had worn off, I had to marvel at the fact that this lipstick-wearing weirdo who emerged in the 80s has brought together so many walks of life. Robert Smith has not physically aged as well as some of his compatriots, as is often made fun of in the music press. Yet his music is forever timeless. It was an uplifting reminder that you should wear whatever outdated fashion you feel like, let yourself accrue a few well-earned wrinkles, and spend your efforts creating things that make people happy. That is truly what matters, as evidenced by then tens of thousands swarming into Hyde Park this past Saturday to marvel at Robert Smith, a man who conforms to nothing.

Setlist as follows. Video footage of the full performance is at the bottom of this article:
Plainsong
Pictures of You
High
A Night Like This
The Walk
The End of the World
Lovesong
Push
In Between Days
Just Like Heaven
If Only Tonight We Could Sleep
Play for Today
A Forest
Shake Dog Shake
Burn
Fascination Street
Never Enough
From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea
Disintegration
Encore:
Lullaby
The Caterpillar
Friday I’m in Love
Close to Me
Why Can’t I Be You?
Boys Don’t Cry
Jumping Someone Else’s Train (First time since 2011)
Grinding Halt (First time since 2011)
10:15 Saturday Night
Killing an Arab

Before The Cure arrived, touring buddies Interpol provided a tight opening set to an ever-swelling crowd, happy from England’s quarter final win. I’ve only ever seen Interpol in dark clubs (I was fortunate enough to catch an early performance in NYC in 2003.) Paul has barely aged, in voice or looks, and the final numbers “Evil” and “Slow Hands” whipping up the late arrivers into a frenzy. While their music is more suited to the dark clubs, it was the perfect way to warm us all up to the main event.

Wedged in between, dream pop heroes Ride arrived on The Barclay Card stage to New Order’s “World In Motion” (a celebration of England’s victory) before performing to a packed audience.

BST logistics improv every year. For 2018 the focused on new accessibility features, as evidenced in the improved accessible viewing area, and a much more varied set of food vendors, with offerings that cover every intolerance or dietary preference. I'm not even a vegetarian, but the vegan sushi rolls were outstanding.

This was the only show this year for which the Golden Circle viewing area remained as in years past, where early attendees get wristbands for the inner circles. Those arriving well after the football were disappointed, but those are the rules that have always been in place. The other dates this year sold circle areas at a higher price platform. We will be there this weekend to see how the crowds react to this system.

Rating out of 11: 
10