As much as the content and sequence of these three sets was known, such foreknowledge did not take away from the emotional trek of working through and reliving each song and album. The crowd remained riveted, and nobody departed during the three hours it took to deliver them.
Once more from the top, not The Top.
After fulfilling their commitment and archeologically by plundering their canon, The Cure were at this point free to play for themselves. Anyone who has seen the band know that three-hour-plus gigs are the norm, so they could not escape the encore, which was the great unknown of the evening.
Many hoped the band would continue through the canon and move onto 1982’s Pornography, but alas, a performance of that has already been captured on DVD. After such an arduous sonic trek, where could this sentimental journey go next? Truthfully, there didn’t seem to be any unfinished business.
Remarkably, however, the band returned to their conception and (re)told their story again, this time using their alternative history — with songs relegated to B-sides along with the singles. In this era, The Cure treated singles and albums for the most part as separate entities.
In what can only be described as a fan’s dream come true, songs untouched for decades were dusted off. Starting as a trio again, Smith, Gallup and Cooper hit the stage and broke out a trio of B-sides circa 1979-1980: “World War,” “I’m Cold,” and “Plastic Passion.” Roger and Lol rejoined for the singles portion: “Boy’s Don’t Cry,” “Killing an Arab” (sensitively renamed “Killing Another"), and the awe-inspiring pairing of “Jumping Someone Else’s Train” and “Another Journey by Train.”
This should have been enough, but we are dealing with the Grateful Undead here. A second encore still lay in store, during which the band completed the history with Faith-era singles and B-sides, including the exquisite “Charlotte Sometimes,” and its B-side, the drumming onslaught “Splintered in Her Head.”
To close, they slyly avoided sealing the epoch by introducing Pornography with “The Hanging Garden," thus demonstrating that their history, including their alternative history, is very much a living one.
It made for a perfect statement for a perfect evening. On the second night, Smith joked they were leaving to drop some acid, a nod to their drug du jour for the Pornography era which lead to Gallup’s quitting.