Simon Sweetman: The Cure for what ails you

The Cure circa 1980.

The Cure circa 1980.

OPINION: If you're talking "Bucket List Gigs" – and besides the fact that that's a horrible term – there's certainly one this week, The Cure live in Auckland.

The Cure has played New Zealand shows before, but not for many years.

The Cure is, quite remarkably, a band that manages to be nearly all things for nearly all people. Want a great singles band? You've got it.
Robert Smith of The Cure.

Robert Smith of The Cure.

Their singles are usually available in 7" and 12" variety, often with different B-sides, and there have been two excellent collections of The Cure's singles as long-play compilations.

Got someone, erm, close to you, who isn't quite sold on the band – give them a copy of Standing On The Beach to absorb. That'll cure em!

And the other side of being a singles band means B-sides. The Cure has the best B-sides. So many in fact that they released a four-CD box-set of just the B-sides.

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It plays through like an alternative greatest hits/career summary.

The remixes of some of the band's biggest hits and best album tracks are worth hearing on their own – again you can hear them all in one place if you like.

There are instrumentals and cover versions, there are live albums.

The Cure doesn't ever quite sound like any other band but The Cure. And for those that want to write the band off as same-sounding or "boring", there are over a dozen full-length records to hear across 40 years.

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And even if you only like the early years, and only restrict yourself to that first decade there's still an absolute embarrassment of riches.

The Cure is also a great albums band.

There is no one great Cure album that is the only go-to. A fan might list Seventeen Seconds or The Head on the Door or Disintegration as The Great Cure Album.

Someone else might list Faith or Pornography or Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me as their favourite. There's almost no wrong answer. (Almost).

And this great albums/singles/B-sides band is famous for putting on long and spellbinding shows, gigs that stretch up to three hours and beyond, that include many rarities as well as the hits, that showcase brand new unreleased material as well as the favourites; shows that feature up to four encore sets on top of the main show.

Gigs that transport and transcend, that whisk people away: from the dressed-up Goth to the buttoned-down office worker.

You can be a fan of The Cure for their dark and gloomy music or their uplifting three-minute pop gems. Of course you can be a fan of both.

And just when you thought The Cure stopped making great music – whether that's at 1985 or 1989 or 1992 they released, in the year 2000, a song that is to my ears the equal of anything they did: a career highlight hiding there on an album that some Cure fans might not have even heard.

The albums have slowed down, yes. But the shows have not. A look at recent setlists suggests that Thursday night's show could offer absolutely anything and very nearly everything.

That's a show to be at.

I'm out of the country at the moment – which makes me out of the world of The Cure. I'll probably never get to see them now. But I'm still excited to hear from Cure fans about previous shows, and about this upcoming gig.

Three years ago I put on a Cure DJ set. It was so easy to play hours of Cure material, to indulge the B-sides and album tracks as well as some of the big, big hits. I could have played more and probably should do another Cure set at some point.

I'll leave you with a playlist of most of the music I played that night. It could serve as part of your build-up for the show or you could, as I'll be doing, listen to it as part of the commiseration process for missing out.

I'm sure seeing The Cure will be out of this world. All the best for all the fans out there. One of the world's truly special and unique bands in my book.


 - Stuff


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