Film Review: The Cure, 40 LIVE – CURAETION-25 + Anniversary, Eagle Vision

The Cure celebrates its 40th anniversary, and subsequent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with a pair of performances that they’ve commemorated with the release of 40 LIVE – CURAETION-25 + ANNIVERSARY. The collection, available on a variety of formats including deluxe box, hardbook DVD, hardbook Blu-Ray, and standalone digital formats captures both the tenth and final night of the 25th Meltdown Festival in London and ANNIVERSARY: 1978-2018 Live in Hyde Park in London.

The first film, CURAETION 25: From There To Here | From Here To There comprises the band’s discography spanning set from the Robert Smith curated Meltdown Festival at Royal Festival Hall in June 2018. During the performance, Smith, Simon Gallup, Jason Cooper, Roger O’Donnell, and Reeves Gabrels perform songs from each of their albums, in chronological order. For a lesser band, this endeavor might serve to uncover weaknesses in a band’s back catalog. Not so for The Cure, who retrace their history seamlessly and offer flawless performances that uncover a glimpse of their consistent power and presence as THE predominant modern rock band of the last century. Around mid-set, 28 songs in total, the band breaks from their original mission to cover both unreleased and new material, hinting at a rich future still to be written.

For even casual fans of the band, although I have yet to meet one, the performance covers also offers a broad range of standards/hits, delivered in HD with 5.1 surround sound, including “The Forest,” “Boy’s Don’t Cry,” “Pictures of You,” and “High.” A note for diehards: CURAETION 25 is directed by Nick Wickham, who is also responsible for the band’s acclaimed Trilogy (Live in Berlin 2002) film, a must have for any self-respecting fan.

The second performance, ANNIVERSARY, was released to theaters globally earlier this year. The film features the band’s 29-song anniversary concert, performed to 65,000 fans at London’s Royal Parks on Jul 7, 2018. Against a backdrop of giant screens displaying colorful and complimentary footage, the band confidently navigate their four decade-deep breadth of work with such command and confidence that this could easily be considered the band’s definitive live performance to date.

Directed by Tim Pope, the mastermind behind the band’s award-winning 1986 film Orange, ANNIVERSARY captures the groups epic stage show, highlighting songs that have long been staples of radio and the soundtrack to thousands, if not millions of fans’, happiest and most heartbreaking moments. Although it is challenging to choose a highlight, their blistering delivery of “Burn” and their foray into early material, including back-to-back delivery of “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Jumping Someone Else’s Train,” “Grinding Halt,” and “10:15 Saturday Night,” won’t soon be forgotten.

Offering hours of content, and with hardbook versions including a 16-page booklet, the set is dynamic and devastating in all the ways worthy of the band they represent.