At 8pm on Sunday 9th July 1978 in The Rocket, a small smokey pub in Crawley Sussex, The Cure performed their very first show. Around 65 people joined in the fun.
At 8pm on Saturday 7th July 2018 in Hyde Park, a big green space in London, The Cure took to the stage to celebrate 40 years of playing live. Around 65,000 people joined in the fun.
To capture this second historic event in all its technicolour glory, the band turned to the man responsible for most of The Cure’s iconic videos, as well as their award winning 1986 film ‘In Orange’ – long-time collaborator and maverick director Tim Pope.
The performance Tim Pope filmed that perfect summer evening was one of the most memorable concerts of The Cure’s long career; as giant sized screens danced, glitched and fizzled with images of raging seas, shimmering webs and broken hearts, The Cure flowed, floated, pushed, pounded and powered their way through a 29 song 135 minute spectacular, on a spellbinding trip through four decades of alternative popular music.
Says Pope: “I went to rehearsals in a very cramped studio just the day before the show, and sat in the group’s midst as they ran through the songs. I knew as the set list unfolded that the only way to show people the real Cure was to capture not only the grand, epic dimension of their stage show, but also the close, intimate side of this band simply making music together. Never has Robert sung so well, nor has The Cure played more passionately, more tightly, more powerfully.”
As the film was edited together across the ensuing months, Smith and Pope working closely together, Cure FOH sound man Paul Corkett, who had mixed the show live on the night, was brought in to help Robert create the accompanying soundscape. Mixing took place at Brighton Electric Studios in late 2018, final tweaks to the theatrical 5.1 audio being carried out at Abbey Road Studios in early 2019. As with the 4K visuals Pope had snared with his cameras, the aim was to create a totally immersive experience for cinema-goers.
Looking back near the end of the show, Robert says to the audience “if you’d asked me in The Rocket what I’d be doing in 40 years, I would have got the answer very wrong… but it’s thanks to everyone around me, and to you all as well that I’m still here… so thank you very much! It’s been a good four decades… here’s to the next one!”
In March 2019 Smith and the rest of The Cure – Simon Gallup, Jason Cooper, Roger O’Donnell and Reeves Gabrels – were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, announcing exciting news later that same night about the progress of the group’s first new studio album in more than a decade.
“Anniversary 1978-2018” was and is The Cure drawing a quite remarkable line between their past and their future.