When The Cure first announced their European Tour back in 2021, the only decision to make was which show to go to. My hand was forced somewhat when a quick glance down the dates failed to reveal a Manchester show. Trips to other UK venues would invariably involve train and hotel costs, on top of the rather princely sum of £75 being charged for tickets. Armed with a 2022 calendar and access to flight finder websites, the brief was to find the cheapest European city, involving the least amount of days annual leave. And so I find myself in the majestic Royal Arena, Copenhagen, on a Friday night. As I was unable to get a photo pass I’m 10 rows from the front of the stage, so the size of the crowd behind me is irrelevant. I could be a one of a few hundred rather than the sell out 16,000 souls here tonight.
At £10 a pint I won’t be needing a beer induced comfort break this evening, which is just as well as on top of the near 2 and 3/4 hours of Fat Bob and the boys, tour support, Scots The Twilight Sad weigh in with nearly another hour. They go down well with the locals and I suspect they’ve made a few more fans tonight with their set. Wearing some natty dungarees, singer James Graham is rocking a Gavin (& Stacy) vibe tonight and seems visible moved by the crowd’s reaction, with some hefty chest slapping before vacating the stage,
Early tour footage circulating on YouTube has shown The Cure to be in fine fettle and a series of fan friendly set-lists. Each night has seen a core set, peppered with a few new tracks from the impending album, believed to be titled “Lost World” as it’s the name of the tour. This is then topped off with not one but two encores, the second longer than the first, designed to, in the words of Robert Smith, “send you all home happy”! But hey, I’m getting slightly ahead of myself here.
Playing as a 6 piece on this tour, with Perry Bamonte rejoining on guitar and keyboard, Simon Gallup leads them onto the stage, sans Bob, ripped jeans and sleeveless t-shirt, like a punk rock John Travolta, belying all of his 62 trips around the sun. As the introduction to new track Alone, builds atmospherically, the main man strolls around the stage with the air of a man who has mislaid his car keys, checking everywhere, surveying the crowd without speaking, soaking up the applause and cheers. You could be forgiven for thinking he’s forgotten when to come in, such is the length of the lead in. He has retained the look of a 3 year old who has just found their mum’s make-up bag, despite his senior years and he’s not going to be getting a call from Ru Paul anytime soon!
Eventually Smith delivers the vocal part of this sprawling track as a huge blue planet earth envelopes the screens behind the band, lending an incredibly dramatic vista to proceedings. It’s almost as though we’re floating in space with the band, detached from reality. Gallup bends and stoops, lowering his bass close to the stage before aiming for the sky, all the time propelling the song forward. Along with Hooky and JJ Burnel, I don’t think there are many better bass players around. Smith’s first words follow the songs closure “hello, that was a new song”, before the earth shrinks and disappears out of view, a metaphor one would presume, and the stage falls dark. The unmistakable intro to Pictures Of You has the crowd cheering and the stage is lit once more. Everything feels perfect, The vocals are spot on and the sound is crystal clear, no trouser flapping bass notes from the Faith era tonight.
Robert tells us that it’s a weird feeling writing such personal lyrics and then having to deliver them in such public surroundings in front of 1,000s of people.
Tonight we get to hear 2 other new songs, And Nothing Is Forever and set closer End Song with its apocalyptic world end vibe as Bob sings “it’s all gone, no hopes, no dreams, left alone with nothing”, whilst dwarfed under a blood red planet, as Reeves Gabrels lays down a blanket of almost Santana-esque West coast guitar, smothering the song to a halt.
We all know what’s coming next, just by what they haven’t played and they’re soon back on stage with a little amuse-bouche, a palette cleanser before the main even, and tonight it’s a 5 strong first encore, running through The Figurehead, A Strange Day, Charlotte Sometimes, Play For Today and A Forest. Most bands would probably leave it at that, but not many have the body of work that The Cure have amassed over their 43 years of recorded output, and so to the 2nd and final encore.
The fans have saved what energy they still have for this finale and the dancing erupts right across the standing area and into the seats as Lullaby, The Walk, Friday I’m In Love, Close To Me, In Between Days, Just Like Heaven, before finally playing out with Boys Don’t Cry, the oldest song in tonight’s set.
And yes Bob, you did send us all home happy! Well worth the trip over from Manchester. If you want the full set list then click here.
I doubt they’ve ever sounded better and hopefully there’s much more to come in the next few years after Smith has hinted at two albums to come and possibly a solo release too.
The Cure remain on tour in Europe right through the rest of October and November before coming to the UK and Ireland in December.
01 – DUBLIN 3Arena
02 – BELFAST SSE Arena
04 – GLASGOW OVO Hydro
06 – LEEDS First Direct Arena
07 – BIRMINGHAM Utilita Arena
08 – CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena
11 – WEMBLEY OVO Arena
12 – WEMBLEY OVO Arena
13 – WEMBLEY OVO Arena