LIVE: The Cure – Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Manchester, 09/07/2004  1

LIVE: The Cure – Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Manchester, 09/07/2004 

This was the first time that I had caught The Cure in concert. I’m really not quite sure why it had taken me so long to do so. I had, after all, got their very first single ‘Killing An Arab’ upon its release in 1978 – in fact, I am sure I still have it – and had also bought many, if not all of their albums in the interim. I did like them, honestly. But somehow it had taken me more than a quarter of a century into their career before I went to see them play live.

The occasion was that of the MOVE Festival, Manchester’s very own four-day event which was held at Old Trafford, the home of Lancashire Cricket Club. It had already been dubbed the “anti-Glastonbury” given that the hallowed turf was covered with polythene sheeting for its duration and there being an absence of any mud inside the ground as a consequence.

2004 was to be the third and final year of MOVE’s existence. A shame really, given that artists who had previously appeared at the festival had included R.E.M. the year before, and David Bowie in 2002, a show I was also privileged to have attended.

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Robert Smith of The Cure at Old Trafford Cricket Ground, July 2004

The day of The Cure’s appearance at MOVE, support came courtesy of ElbowKeane, and Longview. Under leaden skies The Cure took to the stage sometime before 9pm. Your memory can clearly play tricks with you because I could have sworn they had actually played for hours that night, but they were actually gone by 10.30pm, their set having been restricted by the event’s night-time curfew. Still, in that time they did manage to cram in 20 songs, a fair few of which were drawn from their recently released 12th studio album, simply entitled The Cure. They also played ‘A Strange Day’ and ‘One Hundred Years’ from my second favourite Cure album, Pornography. Furthermore, they included a three-song encore of ‘Play For Today’, ‘A Forest’, and, finally, ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ in their set so you couldn’t really complain too much, could you? 

My abiding memory of that night, though, is that of the first song they played. It was ‘Plainsong’, the opening track from what is still my most treasured album by The Cure, 1989’s imperious record Disintegration. As the song commenced, Robert Smith seemed to arrive on the stage in slow motion and then almost hover out onto the walkways which ran beneath each of the two huge video screens flanking the stage itself, looking out serenely at the crowd as he did so. It was pure theatre. It was sheer magic. 

Photos: Simon Godley

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.