[sic] Magazine

40 (Imaginary) Years of The Cure.

British Summertime Festival. July 7th, Hyde Park.

Hyde Park was rammed. 50,000 souls broiling in the relentless London sunshine. British Summertime Festival had alighted upon its central day, Saturday, the day of The Cure.

It has been 40 years since the Sussex-based outfit played their first ever gig at The Rocket, Crawley. Now Robert Smith and his band were back to say thank you.

Back…. to party.

Boy it was hot. Hats and sunblock were THE essentials for this years Festival. Strange to see The Cure, and indeed many of today’s bands in bright daylight. A hiss of dry ice pre-empted Robert Smith and Co’s arrival on stage. It was hardly noticeable against the harsh summer rays. Indeed Smith also announced himself with a hiss, making the sign of the cross to ward off the sun that shone directly into his face.

“I won’t be able to speak until sundown”, he tells us later.
“I’ll dissolve”.

And so we start with Plainsong, followed by Pictures Of You, two treasured cuts from the landmark Disintegration album.

They wouldn’t be the last.

The rest of the main set was career-spanning, albeit for the most part mid to late era Cure. We had High, Deep Green Sea, End Of The World. We had hits of the calibre of In Between Days and Just Like Heaven plus fan favourite A Forest. Shake Dog Shake was a particular highlight for me. The back projection was breath-taking and band performance impeccable. Simon Gallup was as animated as ever, chugging around the stage. Smith dances more with his hands and eyes.

This was a celebration.


To help the party, Robert Smith has handpicked a supporting line-up the envy of most post-punk/indie fans. The Twilight Sad are growing in power and visibility since their supporting slots with The Cure last year. I gather they are something of a favourite of Smith’s and he has taken them under his wing. (We have also been championing them for years Robert!) Ride headlined the second stage. Meanwhile Editors showcased some of their better known songs on the main stage followed by the electro grind of Goldfrapp and New York’s style merchants Interpol. Plus many more of course. It was tactically impossible to see every act. I also had about 35 friends inside the Park and managed not to bump into a single one of them.

A special mention for Slowdive whose early set went down well. As you’d expect from an event such as today’s the audience was from several generations. I witnessed a teen, a kid really, telling his mates how Slowdive had just been “bloody lovely”. He had a tear in his eye. “Wasn’t that just….bloody lovely?” he implored.

Yes son, it was.

For a band that normally plays three hours, a two hour, curfewed event was always going to present limitations for The Cure. Tonight could have been about what we didn’t get. It’s a mentality thing. Myself and those around me decided to enjoy every second of whatever we were given. You can’t win with setlists. Somehow, with The Cure, you can’t really lose either.

Onto a ten track encore which began with some classics (Lullaby, Caterpillar, Friday, I’m In Love “It’s the wrong day…..and we don’t care!!!” Close To Me) and later slid into nostalgia. Boys Don’t Cry led into Jumping Someone Else’s train and we really were back to the start of the bands career now.


“Forty Years Ago this weekend it was the first time we played as The Cure. If you’d asked me then what I’d be doing in forty years I think I’d be wrong in my answer” Smith said at this point before adding poignantly; “Thanks to everyone around me, I’m still here. And thanks to you”

The Cure have become one of those rare phenomenon, an alternative act that entered into mainstream consciousness. In their own, strange way The Cure are a household name now due to Robert Smith’s iconic persona plus a string of unimpeachable hits. The clues were there as early as Boys Don’t Cry, a practically perfect pop song. Lovecats (not played at Hyde Park) probably gave Smith further understanding that people appreciated his playful side as much as the bands so called darker material. He’s had hit after hit since then.


Plus we know that Robert doesn’t really care for the ‘Goth’ tag but his influence on Graphic Novels and movies is difficult to overlook, (witness The Crow, Sandman, the movies of Tim Burton….Hell, witness even Tim Burton himself) Smith has become a cultural icon due to that crazy hair and lipstick.

And due to his songs.


Frothy to some, gloomy to others, your typical Cure song is highly imaginative and articulate to those paying proper attention. Smith functions at the level of dreaming. He cleverly taps into a child-like state, innocent eyes peering over the bedcovers.

“If only I was sure
That my head on the door was a dream

It is in this aspect that I believe he has never really garnered the credit he deserves. Whether waking, sleeping or intoxicated fever dreams, Smith’s playful imagination has become his signature stroke. Those kaleidoscopic lyrics make him as recognisable as a Chagall, Lynch or Burton. There is a loving public for Smith and The Cure but I am not sure that everyone appreciates what a serious and intelligent artist he really is.


So yes, let’s celebrate 40 years of The Cure. Let’s celebrate 40 years of stunning music. Let’s indeed be thankful that he is “still here”. Let’s also celebrate a singular, unique talent and not wait decades to give this guy his props.

Grinding Halt (appropriate for the gridlock around the Park afterwards), 10.15 Saturday Night and Killing An Arab closed the show. We ended at the beginning but this is no ending for The Cure.

2019 promises to be active.