The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world


Perth Arenal, Perth - July 31 2016


BOOKS & DVD'S 2009-2014 

Setlist: Plainsong | Pictures of You | Closedown | A Night Like This | Push | In Between Days |Friday I'm in Love | Doing the Unstuck | Bananafishbones | Lullaby | High | The End of the World | Lovesong | Just Like Heaven | Jupiter Crash | From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea | Prayers for Rain | Disintegration

Encore #1: It Can Never Be the Same | Want | Burn | A Forest

Encore #2: Shake Dog Shake | Fascination Street | Never Enough | Wrong Number

Encore #3: The Lovecats | The Caterpillar | The Walk | Close to Me

Encore #4: Hot Hot Hot!!! | Let's Go to Bed | Why Can't I Be You? | Boys Don't Cry

When you look at the long-stayers on the Rock scene people often overlook The Cure, a band formed 40 years ago way back in another world � 1976 the days of vinyl and tape, when music was fresh and real. Musically The Cure has always been that rock oddity, never really a Goth band except in those early years, they had a sound that was either resolutely gloomy or intermittently bristling with joy, and at its best it is still incomparable.


2016 sees The Cure back in Australia for a first full headline tour in almost ten years and with a set weighing in at over three hours it raises the inevitable question � is this to be a farewell? On tonight�s evidence you�d think not. Whilst the band might not have produced a studio album for 8 years and only 4 in the last 20 years there�s an energy and resolution tonight as well as one new song and rumours of a new album on the way.


The Perth Arena is packed and the audience is pretty varied in age, shape, size and everything except colour of clothing. There�s a palpable excitement in the air with the thought of no support act and three hours of pure Cure.


It all begins with the band creeping onto stage under dim lights as the roars of the crowd get louder with each member till Robert Smith appears and the band launch into �Plainsong�. Indeed tonight�s set starts like the sets on most of the tour so far with �Pictures of You� and �Closedown� all from the �Disintegration� album completing the introduction.

The Cure have never been ones for banter and tonight�s set is played largely without a word from Smith except the occasional �Thank you�. The set too is pretty functional, each song set with a simple backdrop that echoes the song whilst the band, largely stationery, except a bassist who moves with a frantic energy, seems content to let the music do the talking. And that is part of the allure of the band as the music does really say it all.


Early on the album I grew up on �Head on the Door� gets a decent workout with �A Night Like This� �Push� and �In between Days� all getting an early workout. Smith�s voice is still magnificent , still as smoke thin and emotive as it has always been, with the growl behind the words simmering.


The set continues with �Friday I�m in Love� which elicits the biggest crowd reaction so far, though to be fair every song tonight is greeted with love and applause. Smith cradles his guitar as the drummer counts the songs in before the first note and the roar of appreciation.


Before you know it the five-piece is on fire again with the bass-driven songs from their later albums swirling and euphoric as the floor moves fluidly almost jumping into the songs. Smith pushes his palms to the ceiling and the crowd roars, anything he does different the crowd roars, this is love.


The set proper ends after a barrage of songs from later albums, there�s more metallic guitar than I remember, more soloing, more hard rock, but it all sits well and the set ends with another pair from �Disintegration� � �Prayers for Rain� and the title track . It�s then that you realise that practically all of that seminal album has been given an airing tonight! Four sets of encores follow!

The first set of encores sees Smith return and after a brief “Thank you” he talks, it’s an event unusual in itself but the fact that it’s a ramble, and out of place and out of time, and, as he himself says, “not the right preamble to the song” makes it all the more interesting. People it seems never cover their mouths when they sneeze these days, especially when they’re travelling in those tin cans in the sky, and Smith bemoans this from the Perth stage as he’s stood there croaking “Cover your fucking mouths, don't sneeze on me” he muses before adding that he can’t bring himself to wear one of those masks.


Rant over, the band bursts into ‘It Can Never be the Same’ their new song, which is met enthusiastically by the crowd before the hypnotic, soaring ‘Want’ with its Cathedral-like lighting creates Smith’s own “wall of sound”. The flute that has been strapped to Smith’s microphone stand all night finally comes out for ‘Burn’ before and great extended version of ‘A Forest’ sees the band offstage again after their first set of encores.

The second encore set starts again with the customary “Thank you” from Smith and the burst of hard rock and swirling keys that is ‘Shake Dog Shake’ there’s a real rock vocal from Smith on this take of the song and you feel that it’s as traditionally hard rock as the band will ever sound. It might jar with some fans but it sounds great as does the distorted, swirling and groovy ‘Fascination Street’ the final cut we get from ‘Disintegration’. The second set of encores closes with the always popular ‘Never enough’ replete with cool whizzing guitar solo and the almost funky ‘Wrong Number’ before the band dives offstage again.


>The Third and Fouth sets of encores are I guess what most casual fans have hung their hats on tonight and two hours-plus in these ‘Greatest Hits’ sets are offered up some of the biggest cheers as you might imagine. Another “Thank you” precedes a sprightly version of ‘The Lovecats’ which sees Smith at his most animated all night, even offering up a kind of shuffled dance and nice musical joke about his ability to ‘solo’ before the floor starts to writhe like a herd of cats at play. For this concert goer though it’s the next three songs that elicit most memories as the band finish set three with ‘The Caterpillar’; ‘The Walk’ and ‘Close To Me’ that take me right back to the early days when I first saw the band. By set three’s conclusion of course we can report wholesale dancing even in the cheap seats.



The final word goes to what you could call a loose collection of Greatest Hits starting with ‘Hot Hot Hot!!!’ and ending with the song that kick-started it all – ‘Boys Don’t Cry’.

It’s been a great night and a great expansive set list that you can’t see anyone complaining about, sure as always thee might have been a song or two you’d wished you’d heard but at over three hours of music that’s value for money from a band who seem to sound at the peak of their abilities. Reeves Gabriel on guitar has managed to beef up the sound especially of the later songs and his soloing tonight is impeccable, and the keys sound good too back in the line-up. The final word though has to go to Robert Smith, who at 57 now sounds like man half his age. It takes some kind of band to pull off a three hour set without the audience once wavering: 40-odd years in The Cure sound as good and as fresh as ever.

by The Buffman, photos by The Rockpit




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