There aren’t many artists performing live shows on the planet at this very instant who are capable of performing four encores in just one night alone. For one, it demands an enormous repertoire to choose a set from. Secondly, a diehard fanbase that will listen to all the material. And lastly, the musicianship to actually pull it off. These three things were each present in The Cure’s performance at Auckland’s Vector Arena last night, making it a once in a lifetime concert for all attending.
Last night's show marked The Cure's return to New Zealand for the first time since August 2007 - and they were welcomed back by a sold-out show, audience members donning binoculars, iPads at the ready (for concert-paparazzi), and their best dancing-shoes for the night ahead.
Opening with ‘Plainsong’, the distinctive synths echoed through the arena, and the opening chords struck a sense of nostalgia - the opening song from their 1989 album, ‘Disintegration’. ‘Pictures of You’ and ‘Closedown’ were up next, before the set-list started to jump around the discography of the band a little more.
The backdrops and lighting visuals throughout the night were equally as stunning, and added a whole other layer to the show. From cloudy days and references to their old music videos, the visuals were cleverly thought out and turned the show into a beautiful sight to behold.
It’s a well-known fact amongst fans of The Cure that they don’t always play ‘Friday I’m In Love’ - and the odds were not in our favour, especially on a Thursday night. I tried not to get my hopes up as I walked into the arena on Thursday evening, however was pleasantly surprised by the song in their set. I’ll take it as Robert Smith’s way of apologising for taking nine years to return to our country. Regardless, it had the entire arena in unified in a romantic sing-along - something that returned again during ‘Just Like Heaven’.
The Cure are a band renowned for their long sets, and the show did not disappoint. There was something for everyone at the show - and with three hours of music, how could there not be? From ‘Catch’, a song Smith himself described as “a sweet song,” to the more gloomy and macabre likes of ‘A Forest' (matched with footage from the music video), the sheer quantity of music was sometimes overwhelming, but nonetheless impressive.
What’s incredible is the fact that Robert Smith’s voice has not changed at all throughout the band’s lifespan thus far - and though the band has aged (and Smith is the only original member still in the group), their live sound is still the same despite the line-up changes. Notably, their live guitarist is currently Reeves Gabrels, who is known for his longtime work with David Bowie.
Closing their first set with ‘Disintegration’, it was clear that the night was not over, as the crowd encouraged the band’s return to the stage. The four encores that followed offered an insight into why The Cure have been so successful over the years - the variety in their sound chronicled through Smith’s distinctive voice and unique storytelling abilities has fostered an ongoing fanbase who hold much love for The Cure.
The final encore treated fans to four classic songs, fifteen minutes of karaoke for the audience, and fifteen minutes of pure joy for anyone part of the show - and definitely a night that no-one is going to forget anytime soon. Let’s just hope it’s not another nine years before they return again.
Pictures of You
A Night Like This
In Between Days
Friday I’m In Love
The End of the World
Sleep When I’m Dead
Just Like Heaven
From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea
The Hungry Ghost
Prayers for Rain
It Can Never Be the Same
One Hundred Years
Shake Dog Shake
Hot Hot Hot!!!
Close to Me
Let's Go to Bed
Why Can't I Be You?
Boys Don't Cry