The Cure's frontman Robert Smith and drummer Jason Cooper perform at Hyde Park London

The Cure's frontman Robert Smith and drummer Jason Cooper perform at Hyde Park London

What better way to celebrate The Cure’s recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame than with a special screening of the band’s 2018 concert at London’s Hyde Park? Directed by longtime collaborator Tim Pope and shot in stunning 4K with a special 5.1 surround sound mix, the 29-song set spans the group’s forty-year odyssey with a blend of hits, seldom-performed rarities, and deep cuts. Robert Smith’s timeless vocals combined with band’s live prowess make for an unforgettable performance that suggests the English rock band from Crawley is at the height of their career.

The film opens with a fisheye view from behind drummer Jason Cooper as smoke fills the air on the Hyde Park stage in London which could easily double as an outdoor Texas venue as the sun blazes down on the crowd of 65,000 sending temperatures into the 90s even though it’s 8pm. Suddenly, Roger O’Donnell’s thunderous keyboards from “Plainsong” break the suspense as the band revisits the critically acclaimed 1989 album “Disintegration” by sticking to the track list with a performance of "Pictures of You" as the follow-up song.

Over the course of two hours and fifteen minutes The Cure perform selections from their 1978 debut album “Three Imaginary Boys,” including the seldom performed "Grinding Halt," as well as cuts from “The Top,” “Seventeen Seconds” (with a ravishing performance of “A Forest”), “Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me,” “Wish,” and “Boys Don’t Cry.”

It only takes 36 minutes for Robert Smith to trade in his electric guitar labeled 1978-2018, for an acoustic one as the often-bashful frontman rips into an energetic back-to-back performance of “In Between Days” and “Just Like Heaven.” Smith’s vocals sounding just as fresh as they did decades ago, give the impression that we’ve entered a time machine as fellow musicians, bassist Simon Gallup, guitarist Reeves Gabrels, the aforementioned Jason Cooper on drums and Roger O’Donnell on keyboards, deliver a definitive performance.

The concert captured in stunning 4K by videographer Tim Pope (who directed the band’s videos “Friday I’m in Love,” “Lovesong,” and “Pictures of You”), was shot without the band’s prior knowledge, only Smith was in on the concert film. For an almost candid performance, “Anniversary 1978 – 2018: Live in Hyde Park London” is a testament to The Cure’s proficiency after four decades.

Smith remains a man of few words, this time around blaming it on the sun, “I honestly can’t talk until the sun goes down” followed by “It’s taking all my energy not to dissolve into a pile of dust” but as the sun sets, the obviously solar-powered band rolls into rollicking performances of “Never Enough” and a sped-up “Fascination Street.”

Listening to the band play their biggest hits is crowd-pleasing but I enjoyed the group’s performances of deeper cuts including “Jumping Someone Else’s Train.” The 5.1 surround mix by Smith and producer-engineer Paul Corkett transports the audience to Hyde Park as the movie theater’s big screen creates the illusion that you are there with 65,000 other fans.

As Robert Smith thanks the crowd with “It’s been a good first four decades, here’s to the next one” there is every indication that these goth rockers are just getting started.

(4 stars)

Catch the film Thursday, July 11 at the following theaters.

(Houston)

-I PIC THEATERS

-HOUSTON MARQE STM 23 IMAX &RPX

-STUDIO MOVIE GRILL - CITYCENTRE

-STUDIO MOVIE GRILL - PEARLAND

-AMC GULF POINTE 30

-STUDIO MOVIE GRILL - COPPERFIELD

(Austin)

-ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE MUELLER

-ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE VILLAGE

-CINEMARK SOUTHPARK MEADOWS

-SOUTHPARK MEADOWS 14

-ARBOR CINEMAS @ GREAT HILLS

-ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE LAKELINE

Joe Friar is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (Los Angeles) and the Houston Film Critics Society.  He co-founded the Victoria Film Society and reviews films for Hit Radio 104.7 and the Victoria Advocate.

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Joe Friar is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (Los Angeles) and the Houston Film Critics Society. He co-founded the Victoria Film Society and reviews films for Hit Radio 104.7 and the Victoria Advocate."

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