Posted on 2013/07/28 23:29
  • Live Report
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Tubular bell chimes and smoke blanket the stage as the crowd roars. As they strain their eyes, four black figures emerge from the fog. Strains of keyboard filter through the smoke as bass booms. It’s in this sombre atmosphere that frontman Robert Smith shuffles through the mist, a half glimpsed figure as he begins singing. Murmuring forlornly “It’s just the end of the world”, the keyboard rapturously rises amongst guitar noodling.

Robert Smith then joins Gabriel Reeves on the guitar, his playing style soothing and solitude filled among the banks of keyboard sound. Robert Smith is every inch the tortured genius; exaggerated gothic makeup, wild hair, piercing eyes and a steadfast voice full of fully remembered sorrow. Every moment is utterly engrossing drama, whether it’s him turning his back on the audience to eulogize about a cheating lost love or ripping out a guitar line full of fear..

After 30 minutes, the set begins to increase in energy with a more instrumental rock and roll number. The guitars exchange, kiss and harmonize. The plaintive opera unwinding on stage changes to a more urging, surging tone with anguished anger riding over the previous apathy. Each lyric is sighed tormentedly from Robert Smith’s lipstick stained mouth, while muted guitar accents it.

The band is very much a supporting act for the dramatic presence of Robert Smith but each have a moment to shine, with pummeling drums, ambient keyboard sections, raging basslines and harsh guitar solos. The second half of the marathon set sees the band’s more recent hits brought out, much to the delight of the crowd. There was even a few reliefs from the mood of gloom, as more happier numbers were rolled out. This was especially true of the 10 song encore.

And like that, the almost 3 hour set was finished. With the 36 songs in total presented in roughly chronological order, it was an amazing chance to see the development of the band over almost 40 years now. The gradual replacement of the mournful atmosphere of early pieces with more self-aware anger was the most obvious aspect to newcomers but true Cure fans were in rapture as the history of one of the world’s finest alternative bands was presented on stage.