British Summer Time in Hyde Park with The Cure and Special Guests
British Summer Time in Hyde Park – July 7th, 2018
When British Summer Time in Hyde Park announced it was, going to host legendary alt-rockers The Cure who were going to celebrate their 40th Anniversary, it was like, “Oh my! How do we make this happen?”
Well, the planets fell into alignment and The B3AT were able to make the journey from California to London, England for this very special one day festival.
My first introduction to The Cure was in 1985. I was hooked from the start. The way Robert Smith the bands main constant and founding member brought you into his dark but beautiful world with melodies and hooks that are otherworldly. It wasn’t until 1989 that I had my first Cure show and it was a big one. Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles for a triple bill that included Love and Rockets and The Pixies. It was the Cure’s ‘Prayers Tour’ for their hugely popular and successful ‘Disintegration’ album. The show was legendary, and going forward they have always remained one of my favorite bands and especially their LIVE shows. I have since seen than quite a few times over the years, including two times they headlined Coachella, and every time I see them it is a different show. All good, but with such a catalogue of music and so much mystique and wonder behind the band and Robert Smith especially it always makes for a unique and sometimes upwards of 4 hours of pure bliss.
On July 7th, 2018 The Cure invited some of their favorite bands to join them in Hyde Park in front of tens of thousands of fans and also in about 90 degree heat. There were three stages with lots of bands to choose from. The main stage known as the Great Oak Stage was where it was at, and with the main acts coming on so close together and having grabbed a great location up close it was hard to make it to the other stages to see some of the bands on the second stage we wanted to see like RIDE and This Will Destroy You. This was the only bummer, however what we did catch was perfect and made for an awesome day!
First up as we walked in one of my favorite Shoegaze bands of all time walked on. It was very hot out and broad daylight, but Slowdive knew just how to cool the crowd down. Opening up with the super chill melodies and guitar picks of “Slomo” off their comeback self titled album was just what we needed.
The beautiful and ethereal style and vocal combo of Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell is just mesmerizing. They make some beautiful music together and it really shined through as they played the song “Catch The Breeze” off their debut album ‘Just For Today’ from 1991. After a very good version of “Crazy For Love”, the band ripped into “Star Roving” and it was glorious. Halstead’s guitar work is so sonic on that one. Just brilliant! “Souvlaki Space Station” kept things rolling in a bit darker tone, but kept the crowd happy and happy to hear a track from their 2nd album ‘Souvlaki’.
The band finished out their short but sweet set with another newer track that is so beautiful “Sugar For The Pill” and wrapped it up with the ever great set closer “When The Sun Hits”. It clinched their place in history as one of the greats of the genre, and not to be imitated or replaced.
Next we had the privilege and treat of seeing Birmingham, Englands very own, EDITORS.
The band, fronted by the dramatic and moving vocals of Tom Smith has a real knack for moving you in ways you didn’t know possible. So much emotion goes into their songs lyrically and musically. A lot of passion in this band, and today was no different. The band has a new album titled ‘Violence’ and they chose the lead off song from that album “Hallelujah (So Low)” to kick off their set. The heat was turning up outside and the sun was beating down on the crowd. But that didn’t stop the faithful from jamming to songs like “Smokers Outside The Hospital Room” off their 2007 masterpiece ‘An End Has A Start’. If you have never heard this band before start with this album. It’s quite beautiful and moving.
Editors played two back to back tracks from their very successful album ‘The Back Room’ from 2006, those songs being the stirring “Blood” followed by one of their biggest hits “Munich”, the guitar hooks of Justin Lockey are so intense and rigged. Love it!
The band finished with another new one, actually the single from ‘Violence’, the poppy but catchy “Magazine”. These guys know how to play a festival and do not disappoint. If you ever have a chance to catch them LIVE do not miss it.
Goldfrapp came out to get the dance party started and she blew it up hard! I’ve always loved this duo of Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory. The pulsing synths and hard drum beats make you wanna boogie for sure. The first time I got introduced to their music was at Coachella as we have seen them there twice. But seeing them in their native London was very special. And they are so loved in the UK as well.
Opening up with “Anymore” from 2017’s ‘Silver Eye’, Alison Goldfrapp in a bright blue fluffy jumpsuit of sorts sung “I can’t wait anymore!”. It was apparent she was here to have fun and lighten things up. Goldfrapp had been unleashed on the crowd and it was awesome!
Following up the banging opener Goldfrapp kept the party going with 2003’s “Train”, from the ‘Black Cherry’ album, it was packed with pulsing synths and lots of sultry vocals and the crowd was in their hands. The real party started however when they played “Ooh La La” and “Ride A White Horse” from 2005’s ‘Supernature’ album. Such a great electronic act that always has style and delivers. They closed their set with the classic from ‘Black Cherry’, “Strict Machine”. A perfect closer, it did however leave the crowd wanting more!
Interpol has been a favorite of mine since 2002 since their spectacular debut album ‘Turn On The Bright Lights’. The NYC Paul Banks led outfit creates these amazing sounds that at times can be so intense you think your heart will burst. Heavy bass and guitar hooks and of course the dark and heavy vocals of Banks. Only fitting that Robert Smith and the boys chose Interpol as their second to headline act.
I’ve seen Interpol several times and they are always great, they are a perfect festival band, but I must say I think they are in perfect form right now. Interpol’s new album ‘Marauder’ is out on August 24, 2018 and it looks very promising based on their hot new single “The Rover”, which they nailed in their Hyde Park set.
Interpol has so much class, always dressed in suits and ties, they didn’t let the fact that the sun was blazing in their eyes and bodies. They absolutely killed it! So good! and a great setlist as well. Toggling mainly with their first and second albums it was a dream set. They opened with “Not Even Jail” from 2004’s ‘Antics’ album. Banks vocals were in perfect form and Daniel Kesslers guitar work swirled and of course the backbone and driving beats created by Sam Fogarino are divine.
Following the opener the band opted for “All The Rage Back Home” from 2014’s ‘El Pintor’, it was epic and sounded fresh and updated. To cool things down the band played “Take You On A Cruise” followed by a more obscure “Obstacle 1” from ‘Turn On The Bright Lights’. Another track from the same album that came mid set was “Roland” and it absolutely was brilliant. Sent you to another world good, very cool. They also played a great version of “The New” from the debut album as well. They did also include two of the best songs from their Self Titled album from 2010. “Lights” and “Success”, both of which sounded fresh and reworked.
Interpol saved the best for last with an epic version of “Evil” from the ‘Antics’ album followed by another cut from the same and one of their best LIVE songs “Slow Hands”.
It was a perfect set, can’t wait for the new album. Interpol will be on tour this Summer and Fall in the US so check their dates on their website. These guys just rock so hard!
As Robert Smith and the rest of The Cure came out for their performance it was still very bright and hot out. England had just won the Quarter Final World Cup game to advance to the Semi-Final and everyone was on a high including Smith who is a known Football fan. Robert Smith in traditional black clothing and messy hair and smeared red lipstick emerged and held his fingers in a cross pointed at the sun and mentioned it was too hot for him to speak and that he was melting. That didn’t stop him from putting on one truly amazing retrospective show however.
The Cure chose 1989’s “Plainsong” from the ‘Disintegration’ album to kick off their 40th Anniversary concert. The sparkling chimes had actually begun minutes before they took to the stage, much like the actual ‘Prayers Tour’ in 1989. It was a beautiful opening and everyone was content and ready for a great show. To keep on with the ‘Disintegration’ vibe the followed up with the fan favorite “Pictures Of You”. Simon Gallup’s bass lines with Roger O’Donnell’s Keys soared.
After an upbeat a spirited version of “High” the band played a very touching version of “A Night Like This” from 1985’s masterpiece ‘The Head On The Door’. Robert Smith seemed very happy to be performing for such a massive yet adoring crowd. He was especially animated for this show. Also from the same album they did an incredible version of “Push” and a fun and bouncy “In Between Days” that had everyone dancing.
This was a bit of a shorter set for The Cure as Hyde Park has a curfew and they had loads of other acts for the day, and they definitely chose to go with a more lighter and fun set. But they did throw in a few darker gems such as a riveting “Shake Dog Shake” from 1984’s ‘The Top’. This song always slays LIVE, and I was so glad they played it. One of my all time favorite Cure songs. Reeves Gabrels the bands current guitarist just shreds on this one!
After a couple choice cuts from 1987’s ‘Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me’ album which included “Just Like Heaven” and a stirring version of “If Only Tonight We Could Sleep”, Robert announced they were going back further, and they did, all the way to 1980 with “Play for Today” from ‘Seventeen Seconds’. It was very delightful and one of the best versions I have ever heard of that one. Following it up with an early on version of one their all time great LIVE songs “A Forest”. The screens were filled with illuminated and surreal trees which was perfect as the whole festival is in a park and the stage is known as The Great Oak stage and has large Oak Tree cut outs beside it. Very cool.
The crowd was so amazing and it proved true on this number as the end was complete with thousands of people clapping to Simon Gallup’s staccato bass line at the end. Truly magical!
Keeping in full retro mode The Cure also threw in a dark and haunting version of “Burn” from the movie ‘The Crow’ soundtrack. Such a great track and glad they chose it. One interesting note is the didn’t play one song from either ‘Faith’ or ‘Pornography’ which are two great albums, but since this was more of a hands in the air show and not a darker mood I can understand why they did not.
They did however do quite a few songs from ‘Disintegration’ which is always nice, including great versions of “Lovesong”, “Fascination Street” and first encore of “Lullaby” which was complete with big neon cob webs protected as “Spider Man is Having me for dinner tonight”.
Before we talk about the epic encores we will mention they played a track from 1992’s ‘Wish’ album that is so great LIVE and that is “From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea”, Reeves Gabrels (Guitarist) once again proved he is right where he is supposed to be. And I might add he is one of the best guitarists in the biz, he’s played with the likes of music heroes like David Bowie. Trust me, he is the real deal. So stoked he is with The Cure!
The main set closed appropriately with the title track “Disintegration” which left the hungry crowd wanting more.
The band didn’t waste any time as their set was short due to curfew in Hyde Park. After ‘Lullaby’ the band treated the crowd to another ‘Top’ song this time “The Caterpillar”, this song just brings back so many great memories of being a youth and listening to the Cure, lots of feelies. After a few crowd pleasers such as “Friday I’m In Love’, a touching “Close To Me” and a dance party version of “Why Can’t I Be You?”, Robert Smith began to talk about the bands history and mentioned it had been almost exactly 40 years to the day that The Cure played their first gig in the UK. He thanked everyone for their support and said “Here’s to the next 40 years” before the band went back to the very beginning, where it all started.
They closed out this amazing show with “Boys Don’t Cry” followed by “Jumping Someone Else’s Train” which was such a great treat, as well as “Grinding Halt” both of which the band had not played since 2011. Then at almost the exact appropriate time and day they played “10:15 Saturday Night”, it sounded amazing and they closed out this amazing show with “Killing An Arab”.
It may have not been the bands longest show, or darkest, but it was definitely one of their best and just such an awesome occasion. To celebrate a band that has had such an amazing legacy and impact on the music world. There is not another band that can match them to what they do, and they are simply one of the best bands on Earth! Here’s to another 40 years of The Cure, and we look forward to new music that Robert Smith mentioned they are working on as well as, (fingers crossed), a 2019 World Tour.
Thank you BST Hyde Park for throwing one of the best parties ever! Cheers!