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Cure - 02, London, 26/2/2009

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 6 / 4 / 2009

Cure - 02, London, 26/2/2009


...while to celebrate the next night with White Lies, Crystal Castles and Franz Ferdinand all as support play a full two hour show

The Cure are headlining tonight at what is the NME Big Gig Awards Show. White Lies open the show, and, although the doors only open at 6.30 p.m., they are on stage by 6.50 p.m. This is my third time of seeing them live in just a few weeks, first of all at the HMV London launch of their number one album, 'To Lose My Life', in January. They open with their current single, 'Farewell to the Fairground'. They follow this with the title track of their album and also their last single which is also called 'To Lose My Life', and finish the set with 'Death'. White Lies just get better all the time. All three members are dressed in black and have a sound that fills this massive 23,000 seated arena, which, even with the headliners and with a good chunk of the audience having travelled from abroad, is not quite full. Their just over thirty minute set is for me one of total joy. Crystal Castles are next. This is my second time of seeing them, the last time as an NME gig at the now closed London Astoria as a support to the Horrors. Their second CD which they are pleased with, is now finished and 'The Sea Within a Sea', their next single which is seven minutes long, is already up on MySpace. Crystal Castles' self-titled debut album won last year's 'NME' album of the year in their readers' poll. I have heard that album and much preferred it to what they are doing tonight. On record they are dancey European Pet Shop Boys type of band but without the pop. Live they are, however, more rave-based. They are not as good tonight as they were at the Astoria show. Singer Alice Glass runs around, shouting and dancing, while the music is loud and to my ears simply a racket. Franz Ferdinand are next. I have not seen them in a good few years, but they are perfect for this bill. They only play a short 52 minute set, but it could not be any tighter. They plug the best of their now three albums, and prove they are still crowd pleasers. They start with 'The Dark of the Matinee' and amongst the other great tracks they play are 'Do You Want To ?','Michael', and 'Walk Away'.'Take Me Out'is greeted as it should be as an anthem of today and gets the biggest applause. They also play 'Ulysses' the recent single and their last song, 'This Fire', turns the O2 into a pogoing mass. The Cure do play not for a promised ninety minutes. We get two hours. For the last two years they have operated as a mere four piece with Robert Smith on vocals and guitar, Porl Thompson on guitar, Simon Gallup on bass and Jason Cooper on drums. They open with 'Underneath the Stars', the first track on '4.13 Dream', their current album. It is the perfect opening track, big, mean and moody, and, with it being almost three minutes into the track before Robert starts to sing, the most powerful of beginnings. 'From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea' comes next from 1992's 'Wish' LP, and at this moment onwards they have complete control over their audience. After this Robert tells us, "We are going to play a few songs that we didn't play last year." They start with 'The Perfect Boy', a single from '4.13 Dream'.'It's the End of the World' follows from their 2004 album, 'The Cure'. It wasn't popular at the time,but it is definitely a decent single live. 'Sleep When I'm Dead' was another single from '4.13 Dream' and sounds here like a classic Cure number. 'A Forest' follows, which is very odd as it is not even thirty minutes into the set and this is the track that the Cure usually play as the final song in the main set or as as encore. Robert, however, explains, "People are thinking what the fuck is going on. Well, this is where the concert bit comes in as we are going to do a track from every album." 1979's'Three Imaginary Boys' has always been a favourite among fans and comes first. A gritty 'Shake Dog Shake' from 1984's 'The Top', always a favourite of mine from the first time I heard it on a BBC2 live music show, follows and then 'Maybe Someday' from 2000's 'Bloodflowers' is given a rare live airing. They then play 'The Only One' from '4.13 Dream' for the third time in a week for, as well as last night, they also played it a few days before on 'Friday Night With Jonathan Ross'. 'In Between Days', 'Just Like Heaven' and 'Primary' follow, each sounding beautiful. 'Want', which is from the fan's least liked LP, 1995's 'Wild Mood Swings', find the Cure at their most doom-laden. They then play 'The Hungry Ghost' and 'Disintegration' and these are followed by '100 Years', which with its Gothic overtones and last line of "I Can't Do This Anymore", brings the main set to a strong close. The encore consists of several old Cure numbers from between 1979 and 1981. It starts with 'Boys Don't Cry', 'Jumping Someone Else's Train' and 'Another Journey By Train' and then becomes really gritty and concludes with 'Grinding Halt' '10.15 Saturday Night' and a harsh-sounding 'Killing An Arab'. This was a perfect night with the Cure.

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Cure - 02, London, 26/2/2009

Cure - 02, London, 26/2/2009

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