A full year after their 40th anniversary gig in Hyde Park, long term #CureOnScreenMan Tim Pope has overseen a Hot! Hot! Hot! concert video of that now legendary show. What may have come to feel like a dress rehearsal for this years Glastonbury closing set, in recent hindsight, is restored to its previous status as THE show to celebrate a long career in grease paint and hairspray. A look originally designed to scare the parents, now serves sweet old uncle Bob as an instantly recognisable pop icon beloved by weirdo’s of all ages.
Festivals don’t come more corporate or well-oiled than Barclaycard’s British Summer Time Hyde Park residency. I’ve stood before that wise old oak stage set myself for heritage acts like Black Sabbath and Roger Waters and I’ve seen Brooce, Blur and Red Hot Chili Peppers play sets that end up on DVD filmed in this very location. Just as the gig did on the day, this Cure film (The Cure – Anniversary 1978 – 2018 Live In Hyde Park London that is) has a very special element. It’s one not associated with the bands image immediately because in glorious July summer sun the likes of Plainsong, Pictures Of You, High and In-between Days are perfect Ra-kissed pop moments. There’s a sneaking suspicion that the band are putting all the hits up front by the time the light show begins to take effect around A Forest (suddenly that tree stage looks custom built) but the only lull that ever comes is the one in Lullaby. Every track in this 2 hour 15 minute tour de goth is a black gold nugget.
Mr Smith’s stage banter is scant as ever, bar a cute awkward vampire joke and some references to sun worship. The band are the luxurious soundscape architects the material deserves and the gimmick free show relies on nothing other than the already installed wrap around mega-screen and some magnificent lighting. Pope adds some editorial verve for each track. Jump cuts for one song, panning wide shots for another.
As ever with a Cure show it’s the song book that is the real star. The Crow’s Burn, Friday I’m In Love and Fascination Street make perfect complimentary bedfellows. Throw in Close To Me, Shake Dog Shake, Why Can’t I Be You? and you’ve got a diverse decade spanning set with something for every Herman, Lily, Lurch or Eddie in attendance. The day itself featured glorious support sets from Editors, Interpol, Goldfrapp and scene babies Pale Waves. They all payed and played homage to the headliners at one of the happiest gatherings I’ve had the pleasure to attend. The bands influence can be seen today everywhere on planet indie from The War On Drugs to Bat For Lashes. This is the masterclass.
Those hits keep on coming. It’s a mighty testament to the band that they can encore with really early material like Boys Don’t Cry, Jumping Someone Else’s Train and 10:15 On A Saturday Night and keep the sunburned hordes feeling like they’re at the greatest party of their lives.
I don’t want to spoil the ending of this epic but by the time everyone is ‘standing on a beach with a gun in their hand‘ you know you’ve just witnessed one of the finest performers of the art form the world has ever had to offer. And they’re still at the very top of their game. We should do this every summer.
Review by Steve, check out his superb music blog over at Steve for the Deaf!
The Cure – Anniversary 1978-2018 Live in Hyde Park London will be in cinemas worldwide from 11 July. Find your closest screening here!