Album Review: The Cure – Bestival Live 2011

By on Thursday, 8th December 2011 at 12:00 pm

When you’re in the Cure, you’ve got both a difficult and simple job when making a set list. When headlining one of the most reputable festivals in the country (Bestival), you’ve got to think of a few things. How many hits, how much newer music, how many fan specific favourites?  If you’re Arctic Monkeys, you might want to focus on a new direction. If you’re Muse, you may want to celebrate a specific album in full. Most bands generally choose a strong mix of new and old and throw a surprise in there, but the Cure simply can’t do that. They’ve got too much music to condense down to ‘hits vs new’. What they can do however is pull out all the stops on a roller coaster through their back catalogue. This is exactly what they did in their newest release, a live album called ‘Bestival Live 2011’ that was, yep, you guessed it, recorded at the Isle of Wight event this past September. This double album is even made more special in that all proceeds from the sale of this release will be going directly to the Isle of White Youth Trust, a local charity that provides counseling and support to young people who live on the island.

For many in the younger generation, the only Cure album they’ll own if any will be the Greatest Hits one, easily located in your local HMV so with twelve crossover tracks, from ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ through ‘Close to Me’, ‘Just Like Heaven’ and ‘The Lovecats’ (a song the band have only recently fallen back in love with live), that’s that group well and truly satisfied. That leaves 20 to go. Most of the rest is filled with the nearly greatest hits like the gladly renamed ‘Killing Another’ and absolutely beautiful opener Plainsong.

When your back catalogue reads like Robert Smith and company’s does, pulling out the likes of newer tracks from 2008’s ‘4:13 Dream’ album like ‘The Only One’ and ‘Hungry Ghost’ can bring a mixed response. On one hand, ‘The Only One’ is one of the strongest tracks on the album, whilst ‘Hungry Ghost’ has had limited outings, but somewhere in that huge crowd, someone just had their dream come true.

A double encore produces more from both crowd and band, as nothing can go wrong for the band on this night. As far an introduction to the Cure goes, it doesn’t get much better than this. It’s so difficult to catch them live these days, as they do one European festival every year and a rare show outside of that, so to have the gold dust wrapped up in one, 2 and half hour package is something in itself. The Cure truly are one of our greatest exports, and Robert Smith the talisman at the front of it all, big hair and all.


The Cure’s live album ‘Bestival Live 2011’ is available now through Rob da Bank’s Sunday Best label. All proceeds go to the Isle of White Youth Trust, a charitable, independent and professional organisation offering counseling, advice, information and support services to young people aged 25 and under who live on the Isle of Wight (the home of Bestival) and, in some cases, their parents or carers.

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[…] second coming of the New Romantics? Mary examines a band who looks like the leader of the pack… The Cure's festival release Robert Smith and co. have put out a charity double album recording of …               Ticket AlertsHowler / January and February […]

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