The Cure play marathon 45-song set for Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert Hall

The set include a host of rarities and the live debut of '2 Late'

The Cure play marathon 45-song set for Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert Hall

Photo: Victor Frankowski/NME

The Cure played an epic three hour set at London's Royal Albert Hall last night (March 28) - the first of two gigs this weekend at the iconic venue in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust.

Taking to the stage at 7.45pm, following an introduction to the evening by curator of the event Roger Daltrey, the uniformly black-clad quintet began with 'Plainsong', backed by a projection of a starlit sky. Moving through 'Prayers For Rain' and 'A Strange Day', the screen then changed to depict a desert scene and a psychedelic tie dye pattern while different shades of smoked billowed out behind the band.

'A Night Like This' elicited the first strong audience reaction of the night, following which singer Robert Smith addressed the audience, declaring that "It's a slow-burning set tonight. How many songs are we going to do? About 45". The group then continued into 'Stop Dead' and 'Push', before bring out classic track 'In Between Days' and rousing the sold-out crowd to their feet.

The Cure then brought out '2 Late' - the B side to 1989 single 'Lovesong' - giving the track it's live debut. "I sing that song at home. It's one of the few songs I sing to myself when I'm doing stuff and I just realised the other day that I've been singing the wrong words for the last 25 years," joked Smith following the track before adding, "here's another one we haven't played for about 10 years". 'Jupiter Crash' followed, alongside 'Lovesong' and 'Mint Car' before Smith teased the audience, saying, "Guess what song this is? It happens once a week," and launched into a rapturously received 'Friday I'm In Love'.

Backed by a screen now showing the stage and crowd, the band then continued through the mid portion of their lengthy set, playing fan favourites including 'Pictures Of You', 'Lullaby', 'The Caterpillar' and 'The Walk' alongside another rarity, 'Harold and Joe' - which was prefaced by Smith informing the crowd that it was "another song we haven't played for a while. When I say a while, in Cure terms that's a lot of years".

'Just Like Heaven' provided another crowd-pleasing highlight before the band finished the main portion of their set with 'Wrong Number', 'One Hundred Years' and 'Disintegration'.

Returning for the first encore of the night, Smith opened by saying that it was "a strange set of songs we're going to play now" and launching into 'If Only Tonight We Could Sleep'. 'Fascination Street' and 'Bananafishbones' followed, before they ended the encore with 'Play For Today' and 'A Forest' - both taken from 1980 album 'Seventeen Seconds'. The second encore featured a hit-packed set list including a sing-a-long 'The Love Cats', 'Let's Go To Bed', 'Close To Me' and 'Why Can't I Be You?' The band then retreated for one last time, drawing the audience in by saying "we'll see if we've got time for one more" before making their exit.

Coming back on for a final, third encore at gone 11pm, The Cure then kicked off with 'Boys Don't Cry' before moving into '10:15 Saturday Night', finishing with debut single 'Killing An Arab' and exiting to huge cheers from the crowd.

The Cure will play a second night at the Royal Albert Hall tonight (March 29), before Suede round off the series of Teenage Cancer Trust gigs on Sunday with an anniversary performance of second album 'Dog Man Star', which was released 20 years ago.

The Cure played:
'Prayers for Rain'
'A Strange Day'
'A Night Like This'
'Stop Dead'
'In Between Days'
'2 Late' (Live Debut)
'Jupiter Crash' (First time since 2004)
'The End of the World'
'Mint Car'
'Friday I’m in Love'
'Doing the Unstuck'
'Pictures of You'
'Harold and Joe' (First time since 1991)
'The Caterpillar'
'The Walk'
'Sleep When I’m Dead'
'Just Like Heaven'
'From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea'
'The Hungry Ghost'
'Wrong Number'
'One Hundred Years'
'If Only Tonight We Could Sleep'
'Shake Dog Shake'
'Fascination Street'
'Play for Today'
'A Forest'
'The Lovecats'
'Hot Hot Hot!!!'
'Let’s Go to Bed'
'Freakshow' (First time since 2008)
'Close To Me'
'Why Can’t I Be You?'
'Boys Don’t Cry'
'10:15 Saturday Night'
'Killing An Arab'

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