- 09 Jun 19
There was a feeling of 'communal gathering' about The Cure's show in Dublin's Malahide Castle. And Robert Smith didn't let the faithful down, delivering a powerful performance that ended on a high...
On Friday, Robert Smith’s in love. On Saturday, his band The Cure headed for to Malahide Castle, on the North side of Dublin, for what promised to be a real Cure-fest.
The support acts were well chosen for the occasion. Openers, Dundalk five-piece Just Mustard, unveiled a similar dark post-punk sound to that modelled on early Cure records, catching the mood of the moment well. The goth-infused sense of prevailing, theatrical gloom continued with Smith’s favourite band The Twilight Sad, from Kilsyth in Scotland, who vindicated Smith's love with an impressive sound. They describe themselves as a Scottish band who enjoy making miserable music, and the crowd lapped it up! Even more intriguing was the return of '90s English four-piece indie heroes, Ride – who reformed after an 11-year hiatus in 2017. Their sound has elements of shoe-gaze and indie, but there's an upbeat element to the performance which adds edge. On this evidence, their new album This Is Not A Safe Place – scheduled for release in August – should be well worth investigation.
But the main attraction tonight – by a country marathon – was the headline act, whose impressively loyal fans had snapped up the tickets, ensuring a sell-out crowd. With Robert Smith looking the part in heavy eyeliner and (still) long black, witch-like hair, The Cure kicked off with the grungy ‘Shake Dog Shake’, followed by heavy renditions of ‘Burn’ and fan favourite ‘From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea’. It was an impressive opening salvo.
Smith and the boys picked tunes from throughout their 40-year career. These included deep cuts for diehard fans - B-side ‘Just One Kiss’; a not performed since 1992 ‘Wendy Time’; and Bloodflowers highlight ‘39’ among them - alongside singles ‘Pictures of You’, ‘Lovesong’ and ‘Friday I’m in Love’.
Out front, Robert Smith gave it his all, displaying a confident snarl during the louder goth rock and a big goofy grin belting out his iconic choruses.
Occasionally, the vocals were lost in the mix during the heavier tracks, but that seems to be an occupational hazard in the open air. Meanwhile, between bashing out The Cure’s biggest singles early and saving the rest for the encore, you could sense some of the audience getting restless. But that too seems to be a modern gig phenomenon, with fans far too often reaching for their phones and taking pictures rather than concentrating on the music. Whatever happened to listening properly?
However, reservations that might have been nagging were completely blown away in the end. This was thanks to Robert Smith’s charm in recounting his genuine, obvious delight, in returning to a city he once lived in; and to The Cure's set-list’s final four songs - which featured a reprise of ‘Friday I’m in Love’, as well as ‘In Between Days’, ‘Why Can’t I Be You?’ and ‘Boys Don’t Cry’.
With fans young and old dressed in black wigs and red lipstick for the occasion, it was clear that they were they were ready to fall in love with The Cure all over again. And they did: truly, madly, deeply.