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The Cure 40 Live (A Music Video Review)

The Cure 40 Live

THE CURE 40 LIVE (2019)

Featuring Robert Smith, Simon Gallup, Roger O’Donnell, Jason Cooper and Reeves Gabrels.

Directed by Nick Wickham and Tim Pope.

Distributed by Eagle Rock Entertainment. 280 minutes. Not Rated.

Are you ready to feel old? The Cure are over 40 years old.

Here’s the proof – three glorious concert films (two from different sets at the same festival) from their 2018 40th Anniversary tour.

While lead singer Robert Smith’s trademark look hasn’t aged all that well – he used to look edgy and goth with his oversized black tops, wild, uncombed hair and gobs of black eyeliner, now he just looks sort of like your eccentric auntie – the band’s music still feels timeless. In fact, this two Blu ray video set makes a good argument that The Cure were one of the best bands of the 1980s and 1990s, with a strong and diverse body of work and a distinctive style.

Although there is only one original member left (Smith) and one more from the band’s early days (bassist Simon Gallup joined in 1979, left briefly in 1982 and came back permanently in 1985) the current grouping has been working together for years. Keyboardist Roger O’Donnell played during part of their superstar years (1987-1990), leaving the band then coming back from 1995-2005, and then returning again in 2012. Drummer Jason Cooper has been with the band since 1995. The new kid on the block is respected guitarist Reeve Gabrels – among his many gigs over a long, varied career, he was part of David Bowie’s hard rock side project Tin Machine – who has been in the Cure since 2012.

The first disk of this collection gives you twin sets from Smith’s Meltdown Festival in London in June 2018 – Curætion 25: From There to Here ǀ From Here to There. These are certainly sets for serious fans – in fact only four of the 29 songs played between these videos could arguably be called hits – “Pictures of You,” “High,” “A Forest” and “Boys Don’t Cry” – and that is being very generous to at least two of those tunes.

Which is not to say this was a bad show. On the contrary, The Cure has enough terrific deep cuts and album tracks to do another show or two in this manner, just recognize that these aren’t going to be the typical “greatest hits” concerts.

It is immediately obvious that the band can still put together a remarkable wall of sound. From the opening notes of “Three Imaginary Boys,” the band is in fine form. Smith’s mournful vocals still shine on songs like “A Strange Day,” “Disintegration,” “Jupiter Crash” and “The Hungry Ghost.”

The concert on the second disk – Anniversary: 1978-2018: Live from Hyde Park London – is more of a traditional best-of concert, though even this show has a good number of deep cuts. Played before a huge festival crowd, such favorites as “Close to Me,” “Lovesong,” “Fascination Street,” “Why Can’t I Be You?,” “Friday I’m In Love” and “Just Like Heaven” sound brand new.

This second film will probably get more love, particularly from casual fans, but both are totally worth checking out. One slight complaint – over four hours of Cure music and they couldn’t fit in “Let’s Go to Bed” anywhere?

Oh well, maybe it’ll make it onto the 50th anniversary concert film. In the meantime, The Cure 40 Live is an embarrassment of riches for both casual and hardcore fans.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2019 All rights reserved. Posted: November 17, 2019.

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