The Cure headline Shockwaves NME Awards Big Gig 2009

Robert Smith and co celebrate Godlike Genius award in style

The Cure have brought the 2009 Shockwaves NME Awards to a close in spectacular fashion by headlining the Big Gig at the O2 Arena in London tonight (February 26).

Robert Smith and co played a career-spanning set, following on from last night’s (February 25) greatest hits mini-set at the Shockwaves NME Awards ceremony itself.

Speaking to NME.COM, Smith said he saw the two sets as linked, and having done some of their more famous tracks 24 hours earlier, he was keen to showcase some different areas of their career at the arena show.

The band, who were proclaimed this year’s Godlike Geniuses at the Shockwaves NME Awards, came onstage promptly at 9:30pm (GMT), with Smith giving the crowd a simple “Hello”, before launching into ‘Underneath The Stars’.

After finishing the song, the band then went into ‘From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea’ with Smith playing an acoustic guitar.

“We’ll play a few songs that we didn’t play last year,” the

frontman said after the song.

The start of ‘A Forest’ drew huge cheers from much of the crowd, and the song was aptly backed by a backdrop showing distorted images of forestry.

At the songs end, Smith revealed that he and the band had come up with a carefully planned setlist for the remainder of the gig.

“Those of you who’ve seen us before are probably wondering ‘what the fuck is that song [‘A Forest’] doing so early in the set?!’,” he asked the crowd.

“Well, this is where the concept part of the concert comes in – we’re gonna do one song from each of our albums!”

The Cure then launched into ‘Three Imaginary Boys’, before playing the likes of ‘The Only One’ and ‘In Between Days’, which drew mass singalongs from the devoted crowd.

‘Just Like Heaven’ then had the entire O2 Arena on their feet – provoking to one of the biggest sing-a-longs of the night.

During ‘Disintegration’, Smith spread his arms out towards the audience before singing the song’s refrain and playing the final guitar solo.

The band then played an impassioned version of ‘It’s Over’, which saw the stage lights turned on the audience while they continued to finish the song.

The band then left the stage, returning for an encore of classics.

They started the encore by playing ‘Boys Dont Cry’, which got the whole crowd singing.

A frenetic version of ‘10:15 Saturday Night’ then followed, before a fast-paced ‘Killing An Arab’ brought the triumphant set to a close.

Speaking to NME.COM, Smith explained he enjoyed the show, but admitted that playing with Franz Ferdinand, Crystal Castles and White Lies on the bill before them, The Cure were keen to show they could mix it with the younger acts on the bill.

“We’ve been doing it [playing live] for so long that it’s kind of difficult to come back in and think that we’re competing,” Smith said.

“When you get onstage there is that competitive element – you can never get rid of it. You wanna be the best thing that’s there. And then you get old and you think ‘What is the best thing?! How can we be the best thing?!’ so it takes away that edge I think in a little way, and sometimes I think what happens to older bands is that they just keep going down the same road and doing the same thing. And we’ve tried to at least change up every now and then.”

The Cure played:

‘Underneath The Stars’

‘From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea’

‘The Perfect Boy’

‘The End Of The World’

‘Sleep When I’m Dead’

‘A Forest’

‘Three Imaginary Boys’

‘Shake Dog Shake’

‘Maybe Someday’

‘The Only One’

‘In Between Days’

‘Just Like Heaven’

‘Primary’

‘Want’

‘The Hungry Ghost’

‘Disintegration’

‘One Hundred Years’

‘Its Over’

‘Boys Don’t Cry’

‘Grinding Halt’

‘10.15 Saturday Night’

‘Killing An Arab’

For complete coverage from this year’s Shockwaves NME Awards, including news, photo galleries, video interviews and live blogs straight from the ceremony at the O2 Academy Brixton, head to our awards index at NME.COM/awards now.

There will also be a highlights show on Channel 4 on Friday (February 27) at 1.35pm (GMT) and on Saturday (28) at 10.55am. NME TV will also have highlights andinterviews from the awards, head to NME.COM/nmetv for the full schedule.

Meanwhile, get this week’s issue of NME – on UK newsstands now – for an exclusive covers CD featuring this year’s Godlike Geniuses, The Cure. The awards review issue itself will be on the shelves from next Wednesday (March 4), boasting exclusive interviews, photos and more.

Plus NME Radio is broadcasting highlights of this year’s awards – tune in via Sky Channel 0184, Virgin Media 975, Freesat 727 or NME.COM/radio.