The Cure at the Royal Albert Hall for Teenage Cancer Trust

At the end of March, The Cure became the first band in the Teenage Cancer Trust’s 14 years of gigs at the Royal Albert Hall to headline two nights, Friday and Saturday, after every ticket to the first was snapped up by fan club presales.

Through the efforts and industry of the benefits’ apparently indefatigable driving force, TCT patron Roger Daltrey, and promoter SJM, the dates attract big hitters, Ed Sheeran, Paolo Nutini, One Republic and Suede among the headliners this year. It puts the charity’s persuasive message out to a broad public, across the generations, but two sell-out nights from The Cure was a perfect exception.

“Friday looked like a great day to do it, so that’s what the band was focusing on, and straight away SJM was holding the Saturday,” production manager, Steve Allen, tells EIN during their second soundcheck.

“Robert Smith is a total original and to have him here for two nights is such an honour,” Daltrey said.

Alongside Smith, the latest version of the band features American guitarist Reeves Gabrels, once with Bowie’s Tin Machine, bassist Simon Gallup, who’s been there, by and large, since 1979 and doesn’t appear to have got any older, drummer Jason Cooper and keyboard man Roger O’Donnell.

Their 45-song, three-hour Teenage Cancer Trust set made the occasion(s) even more special, dropping in on just about every chapter, from 10:15 Saturday Night to The Hungry Ghost off the last album, 4:13 Dream. And it was a big night in terms of the video, at the back of the stage, and the lighting too, which was bolstered by a substantial Cure floor package.

A Night Like This

Allen has worked on the TCT shows since The Who headlined the first, in 2000. The technology might have changed, he says, but the principal remains the same.

The programme has retained some 95 per cent of the suppliers from its origins, Entec, and PRG among them, and the venue has fallen in with its unique approach.

“Over the course of 14 years, going digital has meant we can do all the sound on one small [console] rather than having to drag desks in for every act, and it’s the same with lighting,” Allen explains. “You can have three artists with three different looks playing on the same night and all the information is stored on a show file. Ten years ago, everything front of house was double-stacked and squashed in. Now you can swing a cat in there.

“[The Royal Albert Hall staff] were really shocked by the duration of the shows to begin with, and by the 100s of people that descend on the stage and the backstage, so it was a learning curve for them,” Allen, who will start planning for the 15th anniversary shows at the end of the summer, adds. “And it’s definitely got better. It’s not quite perfection, but it’s getting there.”

“The last two nights, for us, have been astoundingly good, really moving concerts,” Robert Smith said, after closing the show with The Cure’s first single, Killing An Arab.

April 16, 2014

© Nic Howden

Royal Albert Hall, 29 Marzo 2014

 

  1. Plainsong 
  2. Prayers for Rain 
  3. A Strange Day 
  4. A Night Like This 
  5. Stop Dead 
  6. Push 
  7. In Between Days 
  8. 2 Late 
  9. Jupiter Crash 
  10. The End of the World 
  11. Lovesong 
  12. Mint Car 
  13. Friday I’m in Love 
  14. Doing the Unstuck 
  15. Trust 
  16. Pictures of You 
  17. Lullaby 
  18. High 
  19. Harold and Joe 
  20. The Caterpillar 
  21. The Walk 
  22. Sleep When I’m Dead 
  23. Just Like Heaven 
  24. From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea 
  25. Want 
  26. The Hungry Ghost 
  27. Wrong Number 
  28. One Hundred Years 
  29. Disintegration 
    1st Encore
  30. If Only Tonight We Could Sleep 
  31. Shake Dog Shake 
  32. Fascination Street 
  33. Bananafishbones 
  34. Play for Today 
  35. A Forest 
    2nd Encore
  36. Catch 
  37. The Lovecats 
  38. Hot Hot Hot!!! 
  39. Let’s Go to Bed 
  40. Freakshow 
  41. Close to Me 
  42. Why Can’t I Be You?
    3rd Encore 
  43. Boys Don’t Cry 
  44. 10:15 Saturday Night 
  45. Killing an Arab