LIVE: The Cure / Twilight Sad – OVO Hydro, Glasgow, 04/12/2022
Many, many years ago, as a young indie kid, I remember the wait for TheStone Roses‘ second album which took five and a half years. That, of course, pales into insignificance compared to The Cure‘s long-awaited Songs Of A Lost World. Their fourteenth album is named but it is now over thirteen years since 4:13 Dream. I don’t know about you, but in that time I’ve changed jobs, become a Dad, divorced and remarried and moved house several times.
The Dad bit is significant, because tonight my +1 is none other than my eleven year old son, coming along for his first ever gig. The Ovo Hydro (they seem to rebrand this arena quite often) is absolutely heaving with people across the generations, so much so that the queue for the Merch stand means we are waiting for more than half an hour for a tee-shirt and end up missing quite a chunk of the Twilight Sad‘s set. A shame, because they are so very good live, and have benefited from Cure frontman Robert Smith‘s patronage. They’re playing to a hometown crowd and we get some excellent tracks -‘There’s A Girl In The Corner,’ the bizarrely titled ‘I/m Not Here [Missing Face]‘ (sic!) and a cover of Frightened Rabbit‘s ‘Keep Yourself Warm.’ I’d still like to see them get much more recognition.
Once the Sad depart the stage, we’re treated to a loop of rain and thunder that is not the notoriously wet Scottish weather, but makes me wonder if this is a big build up to starting with ‘The Same Deep Water As You‘ or ‘Prayers For Rain.’ As they don’t play either, it’s rather like if we’d been treated to William Basinski over the PA and we get a fantastic 28 song set from The Cure.
While the album may have been delayed more times than should be possible, two things should be noted. Firstly, that The Cure still kick ass live and play incredibly long sets of over two hours, but also, that the songs they play tonight from the new album suggest it will be as strong a set as they’ve delivered since 2000’s Bloodflowers. They open with a new song – always a risky gambit, but they pull it off – ‘Alone‘. It’s clear that the band are firing on all cylinders. Perry Bamonte is back in the fold on guitars and keyboards, Simon Gallup still leaps around with his bass, and the band’s secret weapon, Roger O’Donnell still teases sounds out of his keyboards, all the while still resembling a school teacher from our place in the Gods. Guitarist Reeves Gabrels shows he’s a match for any of the guitarists who’ve played on this stage and drummer Jason Cooper has so much energy I hope he’s got some he could spare for me.
The set is divided into three, two of them for encores. The first part is much more focused on album tracks, new songs and a couple of hits (The Cure had far more than you might think). It’s great to hear some underrated tracks from the back catalogue ‘Want‘ (the opener from the unfairly slagged Wild Mood Swings) and ‘The Last Day Of Summer‘ from Bloodflowers. Some people will tell you that there’s nothing worth listening to beyond 1989’s Disintegration album. Sure it may be the highlight of their catalogue, but there’s so much more to discover. Most intriguing is the way that ‘Cold‘ has been reworked so that it actually sounds more dreamy than the ninth circle of hell (freezing) we’ve been accustomed to over forty years. Perhaps the highlight of this part of the set is ‘From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea.’ appropriately enough, as its parent album, Wish, has recharted in the UK album top ten.
Of all the new songs, the highlight for me is ‘I Can Never Say Goodbye‘ which opens the second set. Written about the death of his brother, it articulates his pain as coherently as anything he has written in over forty years. It echoes the three witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth with its ‘Something wicked this way comes.’ This new record is most likely to be in the vein of Pornography rather than The Head On The Door but it will have the songs to match. Epic versions of ‘Faith’ and ‘A Forest’ show that these songs have lost none of their power over the course of (count ’em!) more than forty years.
Finally, we get a glorious second encore of hits including ‘Lullaby‘ and ‘Just Like Heaven‘ and finishing with ‘Boys Don’t Cry.’ The audience are delighted, not least when Smith tells us he’ll see us soon. Even the interminable queue to get out of the carpark was worth such a fantastic evening.
And the not so wee man? He gives his first ever gig 4.9 – losing the final marks for not playing ‘Plainsong‘,’ his favourite. I think he’ll be back again soon…
God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.
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