Thirty-three years since Robert Smith last graced this stage, The Cure could be forgiven for walking out like sports stars, kicking footballs into the crowd, arms aloft, celebrating their magically-ethereal existence. As if. Have you met The Cure before? This being The Cure, they appear almost apologetically under the rising dry ice, politely introducing themselves with ‘Open’ from Wish, before promptly giving Reading three blissful hours of hushed gothic love.
The bars around Reading’s main arena site today have constantly promoted the heritage of this great festival. So we have the Reading ’72 Bar, with the Faces, Reading ’82 Bar with Iron Maiden, Molly Hatchet and Tank, and the infamous Reading ’89 line-up of New Order, Sugarcubes and Green on Red. Fittingly, the ’79 Bar is the longest bar, running adjacent to the main stage and featuring such luminaries as Steve Hackett, Doll by Doll and Rootboy Slim and the Sex Change Band. Oh, and some inspirational, life-changing band called The Cure.
That piercing, shivery guitar. That low-slung, constantly subdued bass, that cuddlesome-melancholy voice; The Cure are full of grace in at Reading, providing us with gorgeous, luscious renditions of ‘Pictures of You’, ‘Just Like Heaven’ and ‘Lullaby’ so early on you’d be forgiven for thinking that they’re trying to force out the hit-hunters and seeking a special time with their friends.
So, yes, we get an incendiary ‘Friday I’m in Love’ (on a Friday!), but we also get an endearing ‘The Caterpillar’. And while the encore, that has already defeated Reading’s strict curfew (have you met The Cure before? They do not do curfews), includes goose-pimpling versions of ‘Love Cats’ and ‘Don’t Cry’, it is ‘Love Song’, thrown out so easily earlier on in the set, that stands out.
Beautiful, endearing and bathed under the red and white main stage lights, ‘Love Song’ could and probably does break people emotionally. It’s the song that fits Robert Smith’s own face – endearing, loved, dark-eyed and huggable.
The Cure at Reading ’12. There will be a bar soon to commemorate it.
The End of the World
Sleep When I’m Dead
In Between Days
Just Like Heaven
Pictures of You
Friday I’m in Love
Doing the Unstuck
From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea
Play for Today
The Hungry Ghost
One Hundred Years
Just One Kiss
(First ever UK performance)
Let’s Go To Bed
Why Can’t I Be You?
Boys Don’t Cry
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