Goth rock pioneers The Cure sure have been busy boys the past few years. From their induction into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, to the Robert Smith curated MELTDOWN 25 festival, work on a new studio album and a sold-out summer tour I had the good fortune to attend in Ireland and tell everyone about at any given opportunity. (In fact, within these very brackets I am once more reminding you that I saw The Cure at Malahide Castle, Ireland, June 8th 2019. It was amazing.)
The Cure’s legacy and impact on popular culture is impossible to deny. Robert Smith has fought a giant robot Barbara Streisand in South Park and his tears are said to have been used in Vince Noir’s ultra-hold hairspray in British sitcom, The Mighty Boosh. Their songs not only still blessing our ear holes via regular radio play but have also been aptly used to set the mood in films and television for decades. Their IMDB credits, of which there are 166 and counting, range from Only Fools in Horses, American Psycho and recent TV drama Mr Robot. Of course, their impact on music is easy to hear and see with artists such as The Smashing Pumpkins, My Chemical Romance, Cocteau Twins, Nine Inch Nails, My Bloody Valentine and far too many to mention who cite The Cure as prime influencers.
What better way to celebrate The Cure’s legacy than by releasing CURÆTION 25 + ANNIVERSARY, a new deluxe live boxset released through Eagle Rock Entertainment to celebrate their 40 years as a group. There is the Limited-Edition Deluxe Box (2 Blu-ray + 4 CD or 2 DVD + 4 CD, each including a 40 page book) and a Limited-Edition Hardbook (2 Blu-ray or 2 DVD including a 16 page book.)
I have myself the DVD beautifully designed hardbook, its two discs featuring respectively unique and spell-binding performances made up of a monumental number of classics and some never before heard new music.
Its first disc features an unforgettable performance from the aforementioned 25th MELTDOWN festival at London’s Royal Festival Hall. This disc takes us on a journey through the history of the band’s ever evolving career, easing us in with the title-track from 1979’s debut album Three Imaginary Boys. Robert Smith has always been seen to be The Cure’s defining personality, his made-up face and spider-like hair are just another part of the character he brings to the band’s performances as he sustains the innocent and passionate vocal which melts hearts live as easily as it does in studio recordings. The rest of the band, Jason Cooper on drums, Simon Gallup on bass, Roger O’Donnell on keyboards and newest member Reeves Gabrels, each contentedly add their musical flourishes to The Cure’s signature sound.
The filmmaker Nick Wickham uses the stage’s lighting to effect throughout his shots, bathing the band in shades of blue and allowing their shadowy silhouettes to stand out creating a dark and psychedelic mood that makes the band’s track by track story a pleasure to watch.
The second disc, an anniversary performance at London’s Hyde Park to a rapturous sea of 65,000 fans covers just about all their hits, opening just as 1989’s Disentegration does in the swirling wall of sound of Plainsong. After we are treated to such delights as Pictures of You, In between Days, Just Like Heaven, Friday I’m In Love. If I were to have a criticism of this disc it would be of some of the editing choices that have been made to coincide in time with the music. The filmmaker this time round is MTV veteran Tim Pope who has worked alongside The Cure in creating many of their previous promotional music videos (and by the looks of it, he also made and then disowned the sequel to The Crow.) While I may feel a tad put off by some jolty editing, it is for the most part an enjoyable experience of course due to the band’s performance, visually aided tastefully at times some psychedelic effects.
The band’s 40 year career is something to behold and this collection is bound to excite the mega fans out there. My only regret is not catching these electric performances in theatres when they had their limited release in UK cinemas, anything to take me back to that performance at Malahide Castle on June 8th. And for anyone who hasn’t seen them and wishes to experience their magical live shows at home with their eyeliner safely tucked away where it can’t run down their cheeks and a cup of tea in hand, this is worth checking out.