The Cure last played Bestival in 2011 and this year marked a triumphant return to headline Saturday night on the main stage.
Duran Duran headlined last year and Robert reportedly sealed the deal with festival head Rob da Bank at the Isle of Wight venue. Now playing live in their fifth decade you’d probably expect occasional performances, shortened sets but not with this band!
They kicked off a world tour back in May which has already seen most corners of the US and Australasia enjoying regular shows in excess of 150 minutes of music a night! Maybe then, it’s easier just playing the same set every night.
Again, nope! So far the tour has seen no less than 80 different songs having been played – many delighting fans who hadn’t expected such a deep delving into their musical wardrobe.. Some ‘garments’ hadn’t been aired for almost 30 years!
The line-up of Bestival this year was heavy with ‘young’ acts but on Saturday evening despite the day’s rain turning the grassy arena into a bowl of sticky mud of varying consistency a large crowd gathered to see just what this ‘older’ band were all about..
An intro tape begun whilst a simple but mesmerising spiral pattern appeared behind the band that launched into the apt ‘Open’. The spirals continued expanding with more consistency than singer Robert Smith’s memory for the words of this first song but this mattered not. Running athletic rings around many of the other acts this weekend was Simon Gallup playing bass whilst running from one end of the stage to the other regularly without dropping a single solid note.
A surprise came early in the fourth song as ‘The Baby Screams’ was debuted for this tour. The video screen was to compliment the music attractively for most of the night ahead – swirling images of hearts during ‘Friday I’m in Love’, a slo-mo spider during ‘Lullaby’ before the main set closer ‘End’ featured the spirals now in reverse to their centre.
The band played on faultlessly for over two hours and Robert was quick to remark that he keenly watched Duran Duran the previous year and was willing them to ‘play the singles’ .. Now he wished to grant us that wish – and with SO many singles in tonight’s set it did not plod despite its quite epic length and less than ideal underfoot conditions..
The crowd only grew larger during the evening raising their voices to Cure themes ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ , ‘Friday I’m in Love’ and ‘Lovecats’ – the latter being jokingly introduced as a Jimi Hendrix song. Hendrix himself would’ve noticed the fine work Reeves Gabrels was putting in on guitar with some unmissable solos during ‘From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea’ and ‘Wrong Number’ Following 27 songs and two encores came a seemingly untimely ‘That’s it! – See you again’ from Robert as the band left the stage most definitely leaving folk wanting yet more despite the cold air having closed in around the gathered crowd of fans old and brand new long before.
All words and pics copyright Mark ‘The Flob’ Ireland and used with permission, visit his website here >