REVIEW: The Cure - CURÆTION – 40 year anniversary DVD / CD set

REVIEW: The Cure – CURÆTION – 40 year anniversary DVD / CD set

CURÆTION is a new deluxe live set released via Eagle Rock by recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees The Cure. Celebrating 40 years as a group showcasing 2 uniquely special performances featuring new music and old favourites, this is a definitive celebration of one of the all-time great bands.

As The Cure continue to play their distinctively exemplary gothic rock to audiences across the world, back in 2018 they played a unique concert at London’s Royal Festival Hall on August 8th 2018. The show that was filmed for posterity was the tenth and final night of the 25th Meltdown Festival, curated by distinctively wild haired, red lipstick wearing lead singer Robert Smith. The band on both featured recordings include the ever present Simon Gallup on low playing devilish bass duties, stalwart concise octopus arms drummer Jason Cooper, Roger O’Donnell plays the cool ivories and newest recruit Reeves Gabrels shreds the guitar with precision.

This night was dedicated to exhibiting a song from the 13 studio albums in chronological order whilst playing previously unheard new material, the aim to showcase the different stages of sound in the band. The intimate performance starts with Three Imaginary Boys, with its vigorous vocal and bedroom idealism, At Night has a dimly lit atmospheric feel and the disorder of Bananafishbones, Smith noting ‘where the drugs really kicked in’, you can imagine the stage rising 10 feet tall as song after song of accomplished musicianship takes you dizzyingly to the peak of rock.

Of the new songs Step Into The Light flows effortlessly. Smith delicately carries you along on a the wings of the sublime with extensions of his vocal doing the rounds inside the venue and into the speakers. It Can Never Be The Same features guitar loops accompanied with delectable keys, productive drums with the bass of Gallup searching for its next victim. If these 2 tracks a sign of things to come no one will be leaving for the exit signs any time soon.

Pictures Of You carries the torch of when the band changed from a club band to filling out stadiums, not for any fake commercial gain, but simply to play to their widening ever strengthening contingency of black clothed followers. One of the most impressive phenomena’s on display here is Smith’s voice. He still has that range in his voice that has always appealed, that childlike vocal with a touch of the innocence yet can screech out those meaningful lyrics like his life depends on it. You hear some of that on the optimistic The Hungry Ghost taken from the tragically less than popular 4:13 Dream.

The second show on offering is on a much larger scale, held at London’s Hyde Park 7th July 2018 playing in front of a grand video backdrop which eventually reveals itself once the sun sets, something I think Smith is glad to see the back of as he makes his fingers into a cross towards the glowing rays. The change of chords between the individual members moves through the gears effortlessly, timed to absolute perfection, they play like their existence depends on it, every chord struck like Jockey Wilson aiming for the double top.

Playing the hits and more including High, Lovesong, Just Like Heaven nothing wavering in its consistent appeal to wrap the listener in a blanket of deviously eclectic numbers including extended versions of Never Enough, eventually winding down to where it all started with Boys Don’t Cry. Director of the film and long-time collaborator Tim Pope captures the night perfectly with delicious landscape shots from the front, back and centre of the stage, showing the delicate emotions of each band member throughout the night. Smith at times comes a across as playful on stage, stretching his arms out skywards, the stars are aligned to his powers on this particular night. “This really was the perfect way to celebrate 40 years of the band,” Smith exclaimed. “It was a fabulous day none of us will ever forget!”

The set can be pre-ordered via the Eagle Rock website.