The Cure, European Tour 2016, Wembley Arena
Ah, how appropriate, I see on preview that the festive WordPress snow has started to drift, an altogether appropriate underscore to our final concert of the year. I first saw The Cure just over twenty-five years ago during a one-off festival type day they were headlining at Crystal Palace, supported by such luminaries as Lush, All About Eve and James. There were always a favorite when I was growing up, like many moody teenagers I gravitated to their post-punk, gloom laden aural ascendance, not unlike my similar devotion to the likes of Nick Cave, Depeche Mode and NIN, alongside the whole Madchester scene and so-called American alt-rock popularized by Pixies, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr. and others – I wasn’t exactly a Stock, Aiken & Waterman kinda guy. It’s not as if I haven’t had numerous chances to see them since they are regular tours but I’ve just never got around to it, they kinda fell out of favor once I left home and explored new musical arenas, but like those first flutterings with music they’ll always have a special place in my ears, if you know what I mean. So with them embarking on yet another epic European tour I and an old friend took a long trip to the wild veldts of Wembley last week, for the first night of their three date residency. True to form they were pretty darn epic, now let me count the ways…..
First of all I need to apologize for the shaky-cam footage, I’ve curated these tracks according to my personal favorites rather than the quality of the filming, and I don’t think I’ve timed a gig arrival better in my life – they ambled on stage literally twenty seconds after we’d taken our seats. You must admire their eclectic approach to touring, usually, in my experience, a band has a well rehearsed, relatively fixed set-list, that it might interchange three or four tracks or the running order a little just to keep them alert and keep repeat audiences fresh. Not so with these portly smudged vampires, The Cure really love to wallow in their four decade career and thirteen studio albums, while also unearthing rarities and tracks not played in years. Last Thursday I experienced some of that, they played a couple of tracks from almost every album from their inception to the late 1990’s, and even managed to squeeze in an unreleased track and a one-off single for a film soundtrack. I’d have preferred a few more album tracks from Faith, Pornography or Disintegration but hey, you can’t have everything. This was a particular highlight;
After the storming first third which comprised of well-known singles and appreciated album tracks they slipped into more recent material mode, well, if you consider stuff recorded since the early 1990’s ‘recent ‘that is. This was a bit of a come down after the high energy start but that’s the risk with a band with such a vintage career, but once they got back into the first of three lengthy encores my energy levels started to replenish, particularly with this essential live track;
Obligatory set list here, for your perusal. Although this was an epic gig the band have gone to insanity shredding levels in recent years, giving the die-hard fans what they want which I think, from what I’ve read over the years, only the Grateful Dead in their heyday can equal them in terms of duration and adoration. So, just over twenty-five years later for me they came full circle from with an almost identical final burst of nostalgia, two storming tracks from their inception which formed a final electrifying echo to a fantastic live experience – I really must do this more often;