Robert Smith and band provide extraordinary trip down memory lane

In the mid ’80s there was a great little club halfway up Bridge Road in Richmond called Thrash and Treasure.


It had a skinny, darkened doorway and inside was dimly lit, except for a small dance floor that shone with swaying, jumping teenagers; all soaking up the coolest music from England, the US and even some local tunes that got people off their chairs.

A snippet from this newspaper in 1987 advertises the joint as open “Wed, Sat until 3am. Alternative dance – old favourites, new cults.” Perfect.


This vibrant, exciting little club wasn’t the first place I heard the Cure, but it was the first place I learned just how much songs like In Between Days, A Forest and The Caterpillar meant to me, particularly with the volume turned way up.

Seeing the Cure on Thursday night at a sold-out Rod Laver Arena brought the sights, smells and the sounds of that club – all those fantastic songs that helped shape my teenage years – flooding back. A mostly over-40s crowd looked like they knew the feeling. There was a lot of love in the room.

Founding member Robert Smith, flanked by bass player and second-longest serving member Simon Gallup, have created a musical bond over 35 years that’s more than stood the test of time. Joined by David Bowie’s former Tin Machine guitarist Reeves Gabrels, keyboardist Roger O’Donnell and drummer Jason Cooper, the Cure in 2016 play a staggering three-hour show crammed with genuine hits and, for many, fond memories.

Early in the show Pictures of You, from 1989’s Disintegration album, and Smith had already taken the main focus; his distinctive ghostly white face, red lips and shock of wild black hair as quintessentially the Cure as any fan could hope to see.

Lesser known tracks Closedown and A Night Like This soon followed before the seminal electronic mix of The Walk blasted off the stage, coloured lights bathing the crowd as Smith and thousands of smiling fans sang: “We walked around the lake, And woke up in the rain.” Forty years after he formed the Cure, Smith’s voice showed no signs of faltering this night. Did I mention the band played for three hours? Incredible.

Inbetween Days (from 1985’s The Head on the Door album) brought a huge, joyous roar that was equalled only – in the first hour anyway – by the perfect pop of Friday I’m In Love.

Midway through the show Lovesong and Just Like Heaven lifted the euphoric feeling around the stadium another notch. People danced, sang, remembered when they’d first heard this line or that line, that drum beat or keyboard sound. Did I mention there was a lot of love in the room?

Four encores that lasted as long as the first hour and a half of the show included A Forest, Lullaby, Let’s Go To Bed, Close To MeThe Lovecats, Why Can’t I Be You? and Boys Don’t Cry.

The Cure don’t need to play such long shows, they do it because fans enjoy the whole experience.

And if the start of this extraordinary night felt like a trip down memory lane, the second half was more like the party you want to be at today.

© Martin Boulton & The Sydney Morning Herald


The Cure play unforgettable pop hits at their Sydney concert

THE Cure reasserted their reason for being in the lives of fans for more than 30 years with their Qudos Bank Arena concert in Sydney on Monday.


“Hello again,” Smith said after the opening song of their post Splendour In The Grass headlining sideshow.

There was no doubt he was reacquainting himself with an audience of true believers, with a smattering of new adopters, a rebooted goth generation displaying more coloured hair and thick black eyeliner than those original fangirls and boys do now in 2016.

What remains the same are the feelings provoked by The Cure’s curious and distinctive mix of melancholy and merry.

They struck the gloriously sad note early with Pictures Of You, it’s wistful wash of yearning sending you on a sonic time trip back to all that teenage angst of young love.

The power of The Cure to unleash a wall of majestic sound with their swirling guitars and synths set against tribal percussion was proved by the third song Closedown and later with Burn.

They just as quickly reminded us why they have enjoyed a raft of unforgettable pop hits with the irresistibly gorgeous High.


Robert Smith was the focal point for most of the concert, it’s no-frills staging, lighting and video rarely drawing attention from the frontman, who remains charismatic and captivating despite his best efforts to be anti-star.

Although there is nothing more endearing than a cheeky Smith grin or daggy dance to win a crowd’s approval.

There was something equally compelling about watching the band come together and lock into a groove with that unspoken chemistry and musical language enjoyed by musicians seriously at the top of their game.

A Night Like This, Push and In Between Days hit the nostalgia buttons, that cheer of recognition rippling through an audience who seemed a little surprised at the unexpected barrage of hits at the beginning of what everyone knew would be a marathon set.

Primary thrilled before the band went into deeper cut territory with Like Cockatoos.

All those hours listening and singing along to Lovesong and From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea like they could in fact cure heartbreak or conjure true love were relived in the minutes they were performed.


As they have done on previous shows, the second half of the gig was constructed as a series of encores of a handful of songs each, a weird set configuration. But hey, it’s The Cure, so weird it is. And when you get A Forest and its green haze of lights in the middle of those encores, who cares?

The crowd were less exuberant as when the band played their first three records at those brilliant Vivid Live concerts in 2011.

Perhaps that was the Mondayitis, the inevitable troughs in a gig stretching towards three hours or simply taking it all in with vigorous head-nodding during a favourite song is all the response the gig could muster from many fans.

Whatever your Cure poison, there was something for everyone, including an indulgence or two for Smith’s pleasure, most notably opening the encore section with new song It Can Never Be The Same.

© Kathy McCabe