The Cure, live at Sydney Opera House

I was never a goth.

I was also never a big fan of The Cure. Sure, I thought they were okay, but I never owned any of their albums until just last year. Too many of their tunes were simply gloomy, rather than moving, to me.

But I came to appreciate their good stuff recently. By “good stuff” I do not, obviously, mean “Love Cats”. God, I hate that song.

Tonight I saw the second Reflections show by The Cure. These are two-nights only performances of the band’s first three albums, with original band members, performed at the Opera House as part of the Sydney Vivid Festival.

I don’t know if the people at the show have, like me, never been goths, but surprisingly few of them belonged to that grim culture now.

The show was four hours of The Cure. There was no opener, but there were two brief intermissions. That meant a lot of music. We got the full rock show, lights and smoke and big bass stances and Robert Smith sounding as good as he ever has on record.

First were the albums. Three Imaginary Boys was the first. I thought it was the best set of the night. These songs were so poppy, so exuberant. And the band can now deliver them with such skill and power. It all really worked for me, especially “Grinding Halt” and “Fire In Cairo”. We even got final, short, instrumental blues track “The Weedy Burton” which Smith said was an omission from the first night.

Second (proper) album Seventeen Seconds sounded good, and the crowd loved “A Forest”, of course. But the gloomy Cure sound was still developing when they wrote and recorded these tracks. To me that made them a less interesting listen, as a complete album. Like I said above, I never contemplated suicide by eyeliner while listening to this album while young.

Third album Faith was, surprisingly to me, even worse. I really like this album, but live, played all in a row, the tunes were all just too same-y. Too little variation in the depressing shades of grey from song to song.

During the encores, though, things really kicked in for me again. The first ramped the energy back up immediately, with some early B-sides, “Boys Don’t Cry”, and “Killing An Arab”.

The second encore kept things intense, with “The Hanging Garden” a highlight.

And then we got a third encore, still powerful and energetic, with “Let’s Go To Bed”, “The Walk”…

…and fucking “Love Cats”. Oh well.

Although the middle bits were just alright, the start and finish of the show were immense. It was a real event, too, and something I’m glad that I saw.

Two final notes about the people that were on either side of me:
1. To the guy on my right: you really should have checked the scalped ticket you bought off the guy out front more closely. He was obviously an asshole: seeing the first night’s show and then selling you the used ticket for the second night. You’re lucky the ushers didn’t notice the date, as you hadn’t, and let you in. You’re also lucky there was space to hide at the back, as it was a sold-out show. Still, I’m glad you got to see the show, as you were obviously a big fan.
2. To the women on my left: why would you come to a gig just to have a four-hour conversation? Your insanely loud and brainless chatter spoiled the show until I and the guy in front told you to shut up. Three times. I hope the rock gig didn’t ruin your chance to gossip. Idiots. Desperate Cure fans missed out on that show because you bought tickets. Well done.

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