“I realise that I’m going for the award for the person that says the least ever at Glastonbury,” says The Cure frontman Robert Smith among the few syllables he utters to a packed-out Pyramid Stage crowd at Glastonbury 2019. “I didn’t mean that. There is no such award. But I’d still win it.”
Fuck it. Give him the award. Give Glasto more of this. We don’t need showboating or chest-beating or empty banter about “the vibes”, what it means to be here or hollering for everyone to throw their hands up, scream or show their love. With The Cure, the audience needs no encouragement. Through Smith’s shameless dad dancing and the tears swelling up towards the show’s end, you know how much this means. Who knew stadium-filling demi-gods could be so humble?
Opening with the shattering crystal sounds of ‘Plainsong’ and ‘Pictures Of You’, The Cure begin to slowly drop in some some lighter stuff with ‘High’, ‘A Night Like This’ and understated slow-burning bangers like ‘Fascination Street’. It’s one hell of a ride, rising with the pop-noir ecstasy of ‘In Between Days’, ‘Just Like Heaven’ and ‘Shake Dog Shake’, but littered with more esoteric fan favourites like ‘Last Dance’, ‘Burn’ and ‘From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea’. And even during the relative obscurities we’re all lost in the lushness of their romance. They leave the stage so Smith can “put his pop head on”, and mate – did he ever.
“It’s weird because I’ve been here over the weekend and it’s fucking brilliant,” says Smith, fully aware of the magnitude of living up to all that’s preceded them in the previous days. “HANG ON, HANG ON, HANG ON, HANG ON,” he shouts, “it isn’t difficult to be here because the next half hour is all ‘Glastonbury’.” They give Worthy Farm the legendary ending it deserved. File this under the greatest and most relentless encores you could hope for. ‘Lullaby’, ‘Caterpillar’, ‘The Walk’ and the sheer abandon of ‘Why Can’t I Can’t I Be You’. There’s spoiling us and then there’s taking the absolute piss.
“I wish we could have done three days of this festival,” says Smith towards the end. Knowing their knack for mammoth shows, they could have played the whole time. Still, there’s only two measly hours to work with. “This is called ‘Sunday I’m In Love’.” Friday or not, every night needs a song like this. Even with with the dream closer of ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, there were no frills, no banter, just joy. Showmen have their place, so does pure class and grace. No words can amount to what The Cure gave Glastonbury tonight.
The Cure’s setlist was:
Pictures of You
A Night Like This
In Between Days
Just Like Heaven
From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea
Play for Today
Shake Dog Shake
Friday I’m in Love
Close to Me
Why Can’t I Be You?
Boys Don’t Cry