Release Date: Dec 6, 2011
Record label: PIAS
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Fans of The Cure are a passionate bunch that will support essentially anything that they do, but even critics lauded the two-plus-hour-long set that the band delivered at 2011’s Bestival in Wight, England. Robert Smith and Co. have been around in various lineups for 35 years now, so they’ve certainly got the catalog (not to mention the hits) to justify a massive live show.
What does a live Cure album mean in 2011? At the time of Bestival Live 2011's release, one could easily purchase three (out of four) earlier Cure concert albums from the goth godfathers' 32-year recording career. But the most recent of those came out in 1993, and none of them bore anything like the comprehensive scope that Bestival boasts. In 1993, the Cure had only recently reached their commerical peak as international rock stars, but in the 18 years between then and Bestival's release, Robert Smith and company acheived such unshakable elder-statesman status that it's probably only Smith's perpetual rat's-nest locks and deathbed pallor that kept him from getting knighted.
When Cee Lo Green changed the lyrics to John Lennon’s timeless “Imagine” to alter the meaning to be more inclusive to the world’s various religions during a 2011 New Year’s Eve broadcast, fans were understandably outraged—considering Lennon wasn’t exactly an advocate for religion in the first place. Well, Cee Lo isn’t the only one playing revisionist history with song lyrics lately. On the recent two-disc live set by British mope rockers the Cure, Bestival Live 2011, perennial lipstick and mascara-wearing frontman Robert Smith has changed the title and chorus of his band’s early hit “Killing an Arab” to become, now, instead, “Killing Another”.
The Cure could be found in a mix of holding pattern and seemingly constant activity in 2011, with an irregular series of world-wide performances of the band's first three albums and a slew of guest appearances and one-offs by Robert Smith on his own and with other performers standing in for either new or reissued albums. But there was also a one-off headlining performance at the Bestival in the U.K. that summer, resulting in the band's first official live album since the Show and Paris releases of 1993.
The Cure of 2011 are a strange old entity. Creatively, Robert Smith and his assorted company seem to have luxuriated into the steady decline of releasing one new album of decent-ish quality every four years. As a live prospect the band are quite something to behold, providing you can get your hands on a ticket to see them. The festival headline slot featured on the self-explanatory Bestival Live 2011 forms one of the seven dates this pioneering goth rock have played in the past year.
The Cure are nearly three-and-a-half decades deep in the game and have never been shy about monetizing their seemingly boundless recorded output. So it's something of a surprise that Bestival 2011 is their first official live record since the double-shot of 1993's Paris and Show, which capitalized on Wish boosting the band to its commercial zenith. The Cure have kept busier than a band of its status has needed to since then, releasing four studio records, a second greatest hits collection, and an intimidating, comprehensive B-sides collection, while Robert Smith parlayed his godfather status into guest spots on Blink-182 and Crystal Castles singles.
Confirms The Cure as an ongoing, still-vibrant concern. Tom Hocknell 2011 When The Cure – the band Robert Smith formed with schoolmates in Sussex sometime in the late 1970s – played 2011’s Bestival back in September it marked their first UK show in some two years. But little had changed in the band’s world – unsurprising, really, as few contemporary bands can claim to have spanned features in Sounds, Smash Hits and NME (collecting a Godlike Genius Award along the way) with such enviable ease.