Photo credit: Jim Dyson
One of the few things I can still agree with Leon Trotsky about is that old age is the most unexpected of all things that can happen to a man. There was a time when I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like. The reason I wanted to stay the same was because I was young. The Cure, on the other hand, seemed to stand entirely out of time and therefore disqualified from the usual methods of measuring duration and decay. Their appearance, basically a mask, has changed over the decades from a startlingly decorative one to a recognizable disguise, and has facilitated this. As with music, blood flower, which made further happy progression pointless, if not impossible (as two albums of the repertoire released since then were unfortunately reissued). Luckily, the brand new material featured heavily in their London set avoids those blunders and puts their ‘big music’ to good use once again. The Cure’s own wall of sounds is closer to post-rock than goth, and fades in pedals, drum rolls and washes of memory. None of the new numbers drag on, despite the slower pace that’s part of the point. Instead, it’s as reassuring as listening to the Greatest Hits set by your favorite group (also carefully delivered). With 46 years of experience, Smith has a firm grasp of the band’s core competencies.
The years gone by, at least, means Smith no longer has to endure the unsettling experience of peering into an audience that looks more like him than he does. The daily routine that tribal times are now a matter of historical record and the gap between what we look like in our spare time and the faces we wear to our daily work narrows everything. reflects the reality of time. In some ways, this is a bigger tribute to Smith than to an army of clones and imitators. If wild hair and make-up made him look a little bit like a man in his 60s, there were plenty of people who would cringe at how he looked in 1986. When Smith takes the stage, he looks genuinely embarrassed and as surprised as we are all glad to be here. From the moment Smith opens his mouth to sing, his vocal cuts through everything, and although his voice seems to have neither developed nor faded over time, it is nothing like the records I’ve been listening to since I was 11. sounds the same. It is difficult to conceive of a person who penetrates so deeply into the recorded self and resembles them with such advantages.
“Alone”, the first new song and the first one they performed, reveals that time is very much on Smith’s mind as well. It’s a gentle, gorgeous meditation on finality and ending, the group ticking like a benevolent all-seeing clock, their stately support enduring Smith’s curt assessment of our situation. make it possible We are sure it will stay the same, but it will all stop. This isn’t depressing at all, especially since the audience knows they’re in for a very long set yet greets the first and last bars like a lost classic. An overlooked aspect of this group’s appeal.
Despite his apparent solipsism, Smith was a great sympathizer, and his experiences were deeply rooted in his Surrey upbringing (including other cult style icons, contemporaries, and Like his neighbor Paul Weller), his songs often deal with the profound mediocrity encountered early on. life, it later becomes the mood and question that defines us (“I Can Never Say Goodbye,” a regretful song about his brother’s death from Covid that later silences the auditorium, but “A Night Like This ‘ gets crowds just as excited… among the best love songs ever written, it is). From the jagged guitars of the early Cure in his lines and nervous suburban boredom to the searing, labyrinthine elegies about the human condition in which they grew up, Smith has developed a relationship with his audience. Mercury and Presley. This crowd loves him, and that love is returned with modest smiles and waves, both happy to understand each other.
Also, ‘Play For Today’ (French group ‘allez le Cura”) followed by a banger is superficially unnatural. strangled next to me before yelling) and “A Forest” prove no waning enthusiasm from the crowd, or from a band that seems completely enthralled. I’m in Treatment. Their enthusiasm and playfulness address the shady misconception that The Cure are self-pitying nihilists, spreading angry misery for those who can’t stand the stronger. Smith isn’t Ian Curtis, he lacks the intensity and sincerity that Ian Curtis does, and the old complaint that he couldn’t take it seriously because he would talk, but because he failed to commit suicide, he wouldn’t get his way. is proof that music once mattered. and musicians, and also a great disservice to Smith. Curtis had no overt pop side, and Joy Division was inherently unstable, but I doubt The Cure would have disastrous consequences for anyone who didn’t come looking for it. That is not to suggest that Smith is or was a fake playing boredom when he knew he was never in real danger. Wembley feels like an intimate venue) he sings with vigor and energy that resists fading light. Even so, it never depletes the will to carry on or the acceptance that pain is part of a complete and complete (musical) being.
Even Smith’s harshest lyrical moments are driven by a curiosity-affirming life that transforms the wounds and despair of music-absorbed words into something more beautiful and thoughtful. This is most evident in Encore’s manic streak. collapse The album retains its glorious sonar bass even in full flight, followed by another eight-song encore of the band’s most self-conscious, most poppy moments. Far from being at odds with himself, Smith’s pop genius is as evident on ‘Prayers For Rain’ as it is on ‘Friday I’m In Love’. Hits and Darkness are not separate aspects of an isolated personality, but light and shadow in one variable continuum. “Disintegration” is a song full of exhilaration and surprise, with hooks as strong as “Let’s Got To Bed”, the band galloping through with very lively enthusiasm, and “Just Like Heaven” completes it all. Reach transcendence. This must be one of the few things people see recording on their phones and can imagine wanting to watch again later. collapse Outtakes, the end of the show hums in a kind of sustained crescendo, and before the lights come on and it all ends, the past few hours have vanished imperceptibly, as fast as life 40 years from now .
Nights like this are the best for any band. It doesn’t matter if there are places left for them to go. The Cure’s best days may be over, but they don’t have a fire burning inside of them now and don’t want them to come back.