The Cure – 40 Live (2019)

Even goth rockers get old

The Cure celebrated 40 years as a recording band in 2018. Two celebratory shows from the summer of ’18 are now released in a deluxe box set with 4 CDs and 2 Blu-rays and a total of 57 tracks. Ok, it is not vinyl, but I love those super deluxe editions!

The first show is the most interesting one. Robert Smith was the curator of the 25th Meltdown Festival at London’s Royal Festival Hall in June ‘18. At this show The Cure played one track each from their thirteen albums chronological forth and back. They started with their first album and went chronological to their last one. In the middle of the main set they treated the crowd to two brand new songs, and then concluded with yet another thirteen songs, one each per album in backwards order back again to their first album. I love these kinds of odd and specialized set lists. Compared to standard set lists this is much more fun.

I was curious to find out how they picked the songs. Was there any noticeable structure to be identified? Well, the second part seems to focus on the heavier and more iconic songs from each album. Songs that often were main staples in the live shows for each album release, songs like “A forest”, “Sinking” and “Disintegration”.

The first part is filled with slightly more unusual picks even though they have not dug all the way down the trunk for the most obscure titles. Some choices are nice though, such as “Other voices” from “Faith”, “Bananafishbones” from “The top” and “Like cockatoos” from “Kiss me, kiss me, kiss me”.

Let’s review. I love The Cure, but I have only listened to their nine first albums with real presence. As for the most recent four albums, I just haven’t gotten into them. I don’t care for them at all really. So, let’s forget them, it is hard enough to choose only two songs per album you know very well, you know? Are there any remarkable omissions? Which songs from the first nine albums are missing?

Let’s review, already! “Boys don’t cry” was chosen, and it isn’t even from the first album. It was released on a single, but you can’t argue with it anyway. Iconic early song as it is. The first one I truly miss is the title track from “Faith”. It is such a disappointment to me that it didn’t make the cut. It would have been very cool if they would have played the title tracks from the three “depp” albums; “Seventeen seconds”, “Faith” and “Pornography”. Alas, it didn’t happen. None of the title tracks made it.

The next one that is sorely missed is “The Kiss” from “Kiss me, kiss me, kiss me”. This must be my all-time favourite by the boys. Sure, “Like cockatoos” and “If only tonight we could sleep” are great too. But “The Kiss” is hard to beat.

From “Disintegration” the title song is a given and “Pictures of you” is a much-loved song, but also often played live already. It would have been an inspired choice if they would have brought out “The same deep water as you” instead.

Finally, from “Wish” I would have chosen “Apart” instead of “High”. If I wanted to have one up-tempo song in that spot it would have been “Friday I’m in love” over “High” anyway.

Of the remaining four albums some usual live songs were played. Most of them are only “okeyish” except for “The last days of summer” which is a great song.

The Cure usually play at least some festivals each year and more than seldom those shows are broadcasted on the radio or via the web. As an avid bootleg collector, I have a good grip of what they usually play live.

The second show was the actual Anniversary show at the Great Oak Stage in Hyde Park in July, one of only a handful of concerts allowed with full capacity of 65.000 per season. The show’s set list was quite standard and with a clear focus on the first part of their career. Only two songs of the 29 came out after the album “Wish”. I approve!

Unfortunately, we get too many repeats from the concert two weeks earlier. Of the 29 tracks on the show nine were repeats. Not cool Robert. The second rushed extra number was great though, with five oldies from the first album era where “Jumping someone else’s train” and “Grinding halt” were played live for the first time since 2011.

Overall it is great to get 4 CDs worth of new Cure live stuff in impeccable quality. It is a great listen, but I sort of wish that they would have broken out more obscurities. A fan boy can dream, can’t I?

Robert has played around with concept concerts before. “The Trilogy “show from Berlin November 2002, released on Blu-ray, was even better than this release. They performed three albums in order, start to finish; “Pornography” from 1982, 1989’s “Disintegration” and finally “The Cure” from 2004. This is an example of a very cool concept and loads of songs that we don’t hear very often live.

Another cool project, in 2011 they performed three full album per show again, this time the three first ones. And the extra numbers where a bunch of B-sides and rarities from the era. What a treat! That one is still unreleased.

The Cure “40: Live” is all said a very welcomed addition to the catalogue. A great set documenting The Cure in 2018.

My rating: 7/10


Show 1: Curætion-25: From There To Here | From Here To There

CD1: From there to here

  1. Three imaginary boys
  2. At night
  3. Other voices
  4. Bananafishbones
  5. A night like this
  6. Like cockatoos
  7. Pictures of you
  8. High
  9. Jupiter crash
  10. 39
  11. Us or them
  12. It’s over
  13. It can never be the same

CD2: From here to there

  1. Step into the light
  2. The hungry ghost
  3. Alt.end
  4. The last day of summer
  5. Want
  6. From the edge of the deep green sea
  7. Disintegration
  8. If only tonight we could sleep
  9. Sinking
  10. Shake dog shake
  11. One hundred years
  12. Primary
  13. A forest
  14. Boys don’t cry

Show 2: Anniversary: 1978-2018 Live In Hyde Park London


  1. Plainsong
  2. Picturs of you
  3. High
  4. A night like this
  5. The walk
  6. The end of the world
  7. Lovesong
  8. Push
  9. Inbetween days
  10. Just like heaven
  11. If only tonight we could sleep
  12. Play for today
  13. A forest
  14. Shake dog shake


  1. Burn
  2. Fascination Street
  3. Never enough
  4. From the edge of the deep green sea
  5. Disintegration
  6. Lullaby
  7. The caterpillar
  8. Friday I’m in love
  9. Close to me
  10. Why can’t I be you
  11. Thanks @ 40
  12. Boys don’t cry
  13. Jumping at someone else’s train
  14. Grinding halt
  15. 10:15 Saturday night
  16. Killing an arab

Best songs: “At night”, “Other voices”, “Like cockatoos”, “Disintegration”, “If only tonight we could sleep”, “Sinking”, “A forest”, “Jumping at someone else’s train”, “Grinding halt” and “Killing an arab”

Media: 4 CDs and 2 Blu-ray deluxe box

Released: October 21, 2019

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