This is a bit of a shocker from the Grauniad. Complaining about the length of a three hour Cure set is like complaining about France being too French. Lucky she didn’t go to the gig in Mexico on Smith’s 50th birthday recently – some fifty songs, and an extra 40 minutes!
Anyway, her review is below, and Robert Smith’s two responses (HE LIKES TO SHOUT A LOT) are below. He’s a bit pissed off.
They can play for hours, settling into dense, swirling grooves without exhausting their hits, but this show needs a greater sense of momentum
3 out of 5, by Caroline Sullivan
“Show your hands if you’re wearing black nail varnish,” commands XFM presenter Jon Holmes, introducing the first of the Cure’s two Teenage Cancer Trust shows. When a surprising number of arms shoot upward, he sighs: “Forty-year-olds in black nail varnish. That’s scary.” But not as scary, we soon discover, as Robert Smith in full fig: big-screen closeups reveal that the 54-year-old frontman has acquired a passing resemblance to Gene Simmons of Kiss, which seems fitting: both the Cure and Kiss are fan bands these days, mining catalogues so extensive that they could tour for the rest of their days without repeating themselves too often.
The Cure, however, would benefit from heeding the Simmons dictum: “Rock is about grabbing people’s attention.” They may be able to play for more than three hours without exhausting their hits, but they’ve yet to work out how to build up a show: song follows song – an incredible 45 in all – but there are few peaks or teasers, let alone much of the fraught darkness that got them here in the first place.
Though they hit the ground running with swampy, bass-drenched versions of Plainsong, A Night Like This and the joyous release of In Between Days, the momentum trundles to a halt. Once settled into their dense, swirling groove, they stay there for the rest of the night, with occasional diversions into the sunny uplands of Friday I’m in Love, The Walk and The Lovecats. It’s numbing, even though Smith’s voice still quavers affectingly and B-sides such as Harold and Joe get their first airing in decades. But then, there’s no new album, and the last, 4:13 Dream, is mostly overlooked tonight, which gives them licence to do what they like. Condensed into 90 minutes, though, this would have been one of the gigs of the year.
Robert Smith responds…#1
“I have it on good authority that the band have read the review and liked it.” Caroline Sullivan… WHAAAT?!!
SHE WAS COMMENTING ON HER OWN GUARDIAN ‘REVIEW’ OF OUR EPIC 45 SONG 213 MINUTE FRIDAY RAH TEENAGE CANCER TRUST SHOW
TO BE CLEAR – AND ON THE BEST AUTHORITY – THE BAND HAVE INDEED READ THE REVIEW – BUT DID NOT LIKE IT!
THE REVIEW WAS – TO PUT IT POLITELY – LAZY NONSENSE… swampy… numbing… yet to work out how to build up a show… GULP!!!
BUT WE NOW KNOW WHERE WE HAVE BEEN GOING WRONG ALL THIS TIME: Condensed into 90 minutes, this would have been one of the gigs of the year
WE PLAY TOO MANY SONGS! DOH! BUT… IS IT NOT VERY OBVIOUS THAT WE PLAY OUR OWN SHOWS (AS OPPOSED TO FESTIVAL HEADLINES) FOR FANS OF THE BAND?
THAT IS WHY WE PLAY A MIX OF SONGS, AND WHY WE PLAY FOR AS LONG AS WE DO…
WHEN WE GO TO SEE AN ARTIST WE ARE FANS OF, WE DON’T WANT THE PERFORMANCE TO END… THAT’S WHAT BEING A FAN MEANS… ISN’T IT?
WE HAD TWO FANTASTIC NIGHTS, PLAYING TO GREAT CROWDS FOR A WONDERFUL CHARITY… THE GUARDIAN ‘REVIEW’ WAS SAD BITTER JUNK
PS. AS FOR THE TORYGRAPH HACK… sigh… ONWARDS
Robert Smith responds…#2
LAZY NONSENSICAL CONTENT ASIDE; WE WERE DRIVEN TO REACT TO CAROLINE SULLIVAN’S ‘REVIEW’ BY THE BLATANT DISHONESTY OF HER ACCOMPANYING COMMENT
“I have it on good authority that the band have read the review and liked it.” IT WAS SIMPLY TOO MUCH TO IGNORE…
HAVING EXPOSED THE LIE, WE FIGURED WE WOULD AT THE VERY LEAST GET SOME KIND OF A HANDS IN THE AIR “IT’S A FAIR COP GUV” FROM HER FOR ATTEMPTING SUCH A BANAL SELF SERVING DECEPTION… WE THOUGHT THERE MIGHT EVEN BE A FAINT CHANCE THAT SHE WOULD BE MOVED TO APOLOGISE TO HER READERS FOR MAKING STUFF UP!
BUT AS COMMENT BY COMMENT SHE DIGS HER EVASIVE HOLE A LITTLE DEEPER, IT WOULD SEEM WE HOPED FOR TOO MUCH…
A SHAME. WE ALWAYS THOUGHT THE GUARDIAN AND ITS JOURNALISTS VALUED TRUTH?
“OK, Robert. Buy you a drink?”… gulp!!!
HONESTLY? ummm… WE WOULD PREFER YOU JUST REVIEWED WITH A TAD MORE UNDERSTANDING AND HONESTY AND CONSIDERING LINES LIKE “Not as scary […] as Robert Smith in full fig” MAYBE THREW A FEW LESS STONES? OR MOVED OUT OF YOUR GLASS HOUSE?!!
“Rock is about grabbing people’s attention.” REALLY? THAT’S WHAT WE ARE SUPPOSED TO ‘BE ABOUT’? YOU THINK THAT’S IT? IT WOULD EXPLAIN A LOT
WE WILL NOW DRAW A LINE UNDER THE ‘SAD BITTER JUNK REVIEW’ EPISODE, AND SLIP BACK OUT INTO THE WORLD WITH A SHAKE OF THE HEAD AND A SMILE…
PREFERRING THE OLD GOTH DISNEY DICTUM TO ROCKER SIMMONS’;
“WE ARE NOT TRYING TO ENTERTAIN THE CRITICS; WE’LL TAKE OUR CHANCES WITH THE PUBLIC”