Review: THE CURE - Qudos Bank Arena - 25 July 2016

It's 1.30am this morning and I still can't get to sleep after last night's epic feast of luscious tunes from the legendary UK band, The Cure.  My eyes were stuck in an 80's View-Master, flickering and reliving the stage - Robert Smith, Simon Gallup and the rest of the sensational band, singing and playing song after song after song and then some.  Absolute perfection.  This was a 3 hour, 36 song, 4 encore saturation of The Cure at their best and I wasn't the only one greedy for as many songs as I could get from their extensive, close to 40 year, catalogue.  The Sydney crowd at Qudos Bank Arena were hanging off every lyric and note, almost in an obscure but thoroughly enjoyable, hypnotic kind of way.   Spell casting, maybe?   If it was then I was in 100%.  Give me magic any day, and it will explain my sleep depriving View-Master scenario.... Something about that sound and that voice.   Still the same after all these years and age has barely made a dent, so I'm going to be totally, gushingly bias with my Cure worship. 

I haven't seen them live since the 1992 'Wish Tour' when I was lucky enough to have an older sister, who introduced me to them at a fairly young age, take me along with my school friend (see, sharing bedrooms in the 80's did have some advantages).  This school friend joined me again last night so we reminisced and absorbed every morsel that was on offer.  I remember back then being blown away and we had 3 encores so I honestly didn't know if this gig could top it, but it did.  Where to start and how to condense? 

Let's set the scene with some 'Disintegration' album tracks that kicked off our night; Plainsong, Pictures of You and Closedown.  Gorgeous, multi-layered and haunting, 'Disintegration' featured heavily amongst this treasure trove of gems and so it should, being the classic album that it is.  Throughout the evening, we were treated to more of its offerings: the heart piercing and excruciatingly tender Lovesong, its self titled track of course being DisintegrationFascination Street and Lullaby.  Such beautiful compositions and a perfect way to weave between all these other masterpieces.  

As much as I adore 'Disintegration', I idolise the 'Head on the Door' album.  So when A Night Like This, Push, In Between Days and Close To Me made their appearances, I was in total Cure Heaven; Push and A Night Like This being some of my very, very special favourites.  See, you have to try and categorise with The Cure, if you can.  You have all the songs you love (which is most of them), then the ones that are more of your faves, then maybe it's grey as they shuffle between 'love soo much' and ' it's one of my all-time faves'.  Too hard to choose.  Like having a favourite child.  Just another awesome album in their collection.

We had quite a few 'Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me' album songs make it on that 36 song mega list.  Crowd faves Just Like Heaven and Why Can't I Be You amongst Hot Hot Hot, All I Want and Like Cockatoos.   Just Like Heaven indeed.  We were floating and drowning in total bliss, if that's even possible.  I think only a Cure fan would understand what I mean there.   But when the 'Faith' album's Primary played in all its bass line glory, and A Forest from the 'Seventeen Seconds' album, I didn't know how much better this could get. Boy, do I love hearing those old tracks, I get glimpses of music clips flashing through my head from when my sister used to TV tape them onto VHS.  Those were the days!  And then when 'The Crow' movie soundtrack song Burn took over the stage, it was really quite disturbingly stunning.  You could see the opening movie credits come forth from your memories, dark but calming as we knew that revenge would be served.  Another classic song for a cult movie.  I really loved hearing Burn live - that drumming, deep and scarring, sensational.  Speaking of drumming, throughout the night I was really quite taken with the fantastic drum work from Jason Cooper.  They were amazing, really, like the keyboards from Roger O'Donnell and the lead guitar from Reeves Gabrels.  Immaculate sound.  I couldn't fault the precision and enjoyed when Mr Smith mucked up his own lyrics. Musically, you were all like a perfect symphony.   It was beautiful, a visual and audio masterpiece. 

 

Now, back to this mega list.  It was great to hear some 'Wish' album songs like HighFrom the Edge of the Deep Green Sea and the yummiest pop song I think The Cure have ever released, Friday I'm In Love.  Such diversity and a welcome change in tempo, with some light-hearted dancing and sing-a-longs. I enjoyed the inclusion of Never Enough and Wrong Number from Galore, The Singles Collection too.

Showcasing such amazing songs, it was only fitting that we had some legendary tracks from the 'Japanese Whispers' album shine through towards the end of the night.  All time fan favourites Let's Go to Bed, The Lovecats and The Walk, packing a punch with the 'Top' album's The Caterpillar. This Cure gig was a smothering of the richest chocolate sauce, dense and sweet and lip smacking, and I wanted to gorge.  Was it any wonder that I couldn't get to sleep?  Too much to think and talk about, you just have to see this phenomenal band at least once in your lifetime.  Sigh...  So when can you tour again, Cure? 

To the softhearted and melancholy romantic Robert Smith, I wish we had studied your lyrics in high school instead of John Keats.  Pure poetry.   Simple and genuine, a real lover of love.  You are so charming and disarming, child like but commanding.  Watching your quirky little moves on stage, it was hard to believe you are close to 60 years of age.  You have this innocence that somehow blends with the grown up world and it just works.  Can't explain it, another genius of our times.   Affecting so many lives for the better over so many decades.  What a way to leave your mark on this planet.  Watching you all choked up and teary eyed after our finale Boys Don't Cry was just beautiful.  Some of us were trying not to join you, we clutched our chests like you did, trying not to let the water works take hold.  Thanks for another night I'll never forget and a lifetime of extraordinary lyrics and music.  You are a blessing.   I read a fan comment once 'my childhood would have sucked without The Cure' . So true, couldn't have said it better myself.  

For more details on where you can catch The Cure live visit www.livenation.com.au

By Marina Knezevic

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