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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Guardian responds to Robert's comments

From The Guardian:

Why the Cure's marathon gigs might not be the best way to play

The Cure have announced their unhappiness at our reviewer saying they played too long at the Royal Albert Hall this weekend. But, she says, brevity is a virtue

Read Caroline Sullivan's original review here

In the run-up to the annual Teenage Cancer Trust gig series at the Royal Albert Hall last week, the charity’s website noted that the Friday and Saturday headliners, The Cure, would be playing three-hour sets, with no support act. In the event, they were onstage for around three-and-a-half hours, slotting in 45 songs each night. That’s pretty remarkable (though their 50-song, four-hour show in Mexico City last year is the one to beat), bespeaking a fan/band relationship where the passion has only increased over the years. Going by reaction on Twitter, many people considered it one of the best shows they’d ever seen, and reacted angrily to reviews in the Guardian and elsewhere that suggested there could be too much of a good thing.


The Cure themselves also responded to the reviews. Well, to my review in the Guardian, specifically. “THE REVIEW WAS – TO PUT IT POLITELY - LAZY NONSENSE,” they said on Facebook. “ … swampy… numbing… yet to work out how to build up a show… GULP!!! BUT WE NOW KNOW WHERE WE HAVE BEEN GOING WRONG ALL THIS TIME: Condensed into 90 minutes, this would have been one of the gigs of the year. WE PLAY TOO MANY SONGS! DOH! BUT… IS IT NOT VERY OBVIOUS THAT WE PLAY OUR OWN SHOWS (AS OPPOSED TO FESTIVAL HEADLINES) FOR FANS OF THE BAND?”

You take their point: what band doesn’t want to spend as much time as possible doing something they love? Conversely, though, imagine the intensity if the show’s dark, dreamlike energy had been condensed into a couple of hours. The impact would have been far greater, freed of the mid-show sluggishness that afflicts the vast majority of long-form shows. The sheer slog of being onstage for more than three hours means that artistry is ill-served by marathon shows: most bands don’t even try, with the exception of Bruce Springsteen and the Grateful Dead, whose six-hour mind-bogglers were designed as trippy sensory experiences.

The idea of giving fans their money’s worth must also be there in the Cure’s thinking – but can we consider that, sometimes, the most perfect gigs are those where the artist says what they need to in a shorter time? The build-up, the teasers, the communal release – all this can be played out, to greater effect, over a shorter timespan. A very long gig, on the other hand, has a kind of “let’s see how committed you are” aggression. It demands a long attention span – something rapidly becoming extinct in our 140-character culture; and it presumes that public transport runs all night and nobody has to get up early the next day.
“WHEN WE GO TO SEE AN ARTIST WE ARE FANS OF, WE DON’T WANT THE PERFORMANCE TO END … THAT’S WHAT BEING A FAN MEANS … ISN’T IT?” they ask. But is that what it means? There is such a thing as being sated, even by an artist you love; it can be much more satisfying to leave a gig feeling tantalised by all the songs the artist didn’t play, with the prospect of hearing them next time.
“THAT IS WHY WE PLAY A MIX OF SONGS, AND WHY WE PLAY FOR AS LONG AS WE DO …” they assert. And that’s fair enough, because Cure fans want to hear them. Yet, in a broader sense, it doesn’t obtain that the best gig experience is the longest. Compared to the inventiveness of artists who chop and change, playing full-band shows one tour, then acoustic story-telling gigs the next, it’s hard to feel excited by the all-you-can-eat ethos. The Cure’s stature in British rock has never been in doubt, so surely now is the time for them to cut loose and experiment with a different approach to gigging. They’ve already staged themed tours with their Trilogy concerts, playing three complete albums at each gig. Another Trilogy series has been announce d for the end of this year. But what about something outside the usual parameters?

OK, Robert. Buy you a drink?

Notice how she doesn't address that part about her "good authority" who said the band read and liked her review? No, of course not. Mustn't admit to outright lying.

91 comments:

  1. I think it was utterly stupid of her to respond. She says nothing different. Robert' s main issue was with the fact that she said 'The band had read the review and liked it'.
    If she hadn't have said that then Robert would have just accepted as another average review that simply doesn''t 'get' The Cure's ethos.

    She is just digging now because Robert basically slapped her one.

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    1. I don't have an account on The Guardian nor do I wish to make one, but I hope someone tells her THIS!

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  2. "The sheer slog of being onstage for more than three hours means that artistry is ill-served by marathon shows"

    Reading this response looking for anything of value was a sheer slog in itself. Very meta, Caroline Sullivan. Very meta.

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  4. Bless, she didn't show much brevity in her reply. Lost me mid way through - unlike The Cure.

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    1. If she would have kept it to 90 words, it would have been one of the articles of the year! :)

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    2. even better in 140 characters!

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  5. She still doesn't get it. Most Cure fans who go to a show know what they're getting into, and usually enjoy it whether or not they do. Fans WANT the band to do marathon shows, but we're still left wanting more even after 3+ hour performances because the band has a catalog that's so massive that it simply wouldn't be reasonable to do all of it in one shot.

    Lastly, The Cure offer close to the best bang for your buck that you can get from a major artist. If you prefer shows that are two hours or less in length, then perhaps The Cure is not the right band for you.

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  6. I agree with her. 2½ hour would be just fine. The last time I saw the Cure I thought it was to long (maybe cos I`m getting old legs)

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    1. Were you standing the whole time? Perhaps a seated ticket will be best for you going forward?

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    2. Sara, it would be fine for you, but many others would disagree.

      This show was advertised as being 3 hours long. If that was too much for someone, they could have skipped this show.

      Also, what prevents you, or anyone else, from leaving once you feel you've had enough? No one forces anyone to stay for the entire show. Feeling tired? Not really enjoying the show? Probably best to just call it a night.

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    3. Exactly craig, i was gonna say after reading the response, nothing wrong with leaving early.
      Of course as a journalist, one might feel guilty ducking out, not getting a full story. Perhaps she was personally weary and felt trapped
      Please don't bother reviewing the Cure then.
      Bands giving so much and at, well they arent spring chickens necessarily, is rare and should be applauded.

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  7. I would have loved to have read her 5 star review of a 90 minute 'best of' Cure show where the fans ripped the RAH apart after feeling shortchanged and undervalued.

    Some fans paid up to £135 per ticket, that would amount to more than £1 per minute of performance. Thank fuck The Cure, do not, and will not, ever pander to critics.

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  8. Keep digging yourself that hole Caroline, deeper and deeper you go............

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    1. I hope when the new album/albums come out, RSX sends a copy to The Guardian with her name on it! :)

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  9. So a two hour show would have left we wanting more but not a three and a half hour show. Well looking at the set list there are many songs more that I would have wanted to hear so even after a three hour show I would have walked away, happy with this set list mind you, but say"No Letter to Elise, No Too wish impossible things, No FAITH". I also do not see how she thinks Cure fans would have been happy if they quit after 2 hours when the show was advertised as 3 hours!

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    1. Oh and we still get no Bloodflowers songs!

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  10. How about this exchange in the comments on The Guardian page under this article!
    "ID1616573
    01 April 2014 6:42pm
    I hope she never goes to see Bruce Springsteen........

    Guardian staff
    CarolineSullivan ID1616573
    01 April 2014 6:47pm
    I've seen him! Way too long, but I have a soft spot for him that even a four-hour show can't budge."

    So its OK to play for 4 hours if you actually like the artist!! Great logic there Caroline. Why don't you just come out and say you don't like The Cure, be easier really wouldn't it!

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    1. Unreal. You can't make this stuff up!

      Great, Caroline, now you understand how Cure fans feel. Oh wait...no you don't.

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    2. Fantastic reasoning and logic she uses isn't it Craig!

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    3. and she goes to the Springsteen concert wearing a nice tie-dye of the Deads, I bet!

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    4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  11. The Guardian has done itself no favours printing this response..

    As has been posted over and over, the show was specifically advertised as a 3 hour show.

    Yes, many of the band's headline concerts over the last few tours have been 3 hour +, however I would wager that nearly ALL of their festival shows have been around 2 hours and heavily "hits" focused - why did the reviewer not acknowledge this? Bestival 2011.. Summer festivals 2012 and 2013?

    I really hope the negative (and unfortunately, typical) media reaction in the UK does not put Robert off doing more UK shows.

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    1. I hope so as well, why do the band get such a rough ride in their own country?

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    2. We've just got a really horrible mean spirited press in the country.

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    3. Because most people who live there are stupid.

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    4. Um, I live there! And I'm not stupid. Well, not that stupid.

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  12. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand another thing "It demands a long attention span – something rapidly becoming extinct in our 140-character culture; " well its good to buck that trend then isn't it, or lets all succumb to the wonderful social media obsessed world we now live in....
    "and it presumes that public transport runs all night and nobody has to get up early the next day." its normal for most gigs to finish around 11 or slightly later isn't it? Or it is for the ones I've been to! Worrying about getting up early the next day?!!! How very rock'n'roll! Why do you nother going to gigs at all?!

    Sorry, had a bad day at work, can anyone tell. Feel a bit better now. Onwards...............

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    2. Not only that, but the gigs were on a Friday and Saturday night!! There are nightclubs that don't even open until 11 in London.

      If you have to be up early the next day, you don't go to an advertised 3 hour gig, knowing the doors don't open until 6:30. Simple maths.

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  13. The Guardian complaints process is here:

    http://www.theguardian.com/info/2013/sep/23/guardian-readers-editor

    As far as I can see it was the original review was mean spirited and unpleasant, but not something warranty a complaint. However, there are two further issues that do:

    1) Caroline claiming the band liked the review

    2) In the response, Caroline twisting facts so making it sound like Robert had responded to the review, and not that fact they she had claimed he liked the review.

    I'm going to follow the complaints procedure by emailing reader@theguardian.com for comment.

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  14. Mexico City was over 4hours...and I was still like "don't let it end..."

    She doesn't understand what it is like to be a fan of The Cure. Every person that I met at RAH travelled from all over the world (Europe, Japan, Latin and North America) specifically to see The Cure and even waited for HOURS in the queue for the standing section. Would I have been satisfied with a 90min greatest hits set so people like Caroline could catch the tube? It was advertised as a 3hour set.... SO ...NO.

    Everyone seemed to be really enjoying themselves and if they weren't they were FREE to leave.

    To say that "brevity is a virtue" is so SMUG and is a slap in the face because it suggests that the setlist was thoughtlessly put together. Based on the sheer volume of The Cure's catalogue, even a 3hour setlist requires real thought and hours of work and rehearsals....because as we all know, this was a FAN based concert. An likening artful setlist to "all you can eat buffet" is grotesque. On top of that, it's an insult to fans...you know, because of our short attention spans, and all. For those who only care about the greatest hits, they got what they wanted (AND should consider themselves lucky to get MORE!).... and the rest of us, the fans, also got what we wanted-- an amazing 3hour show (that I personally did not want to end...still...!!) I would gladly do it again ...and again ..and again ... because with The Cure it is NEVER ENOUGH. ;)

    Music critics ...what are you gonna do with them...?

    I'd be curious to know what bands Caroline is actually a FAN of...

    -Sarah


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    1. Sarah, she apparently likes Bruce Springsteen, who is about as known for his brevity as Robert.

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    2. Umm okay.... doesn't he have the record for longest gig?

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    3. Heh, yeah, pretty much.

      Bottom line here is, as she expressed in another comment following her followup:

      If this were a band she liked, say Bruce and the E-Street Band, she'd be perfectly A-OK with a 4+ hour marathon gig.

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  15. the cure have so many songs to play, i dont see the point. a shorter show is ok if you pay less also

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  16. This writer is becoming a troll.

    The Cure could easily put together 4 double albums of just their b-sides. There are few bands around that are capable and willing to give their fans the highest dose of music possible without overdose. The fact that fans defend the long shows and still want more says a hell of a lot about The Cure. I've been to lots of gigs where a band could have easily played another hour without exhausting their catalogue but didn't. I most definitely left feeling a bit unsatisfied.

    "Sleep When I'm Dead"!!

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  17. For me the review is like that for a Blue Stilton written by a fan of mild Cheddar. It reeks for all the wrong reasons.
    Long may the 3 hour plus shows continue.
    My highlight on Friday was One Hundred years - epic.

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  18. She doesn't even deserve my "shortest attention span" ;-)

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  19. the more she stirs it, the more it stinks.

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  20. So tired of so-called critics writting about groups they don't like.
    Same old story. Don't understand how they can be so bitter about something they don't care about.
    Onwards!

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  21. They should add a Springsteen cover to their setlist. Just saying.

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  22. Please stop engaging this reporter, she obviously is thriving on the attention. She is entitled to her narrow opinion. Leave it at that.

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  23. Sorry, Crimson. Not having anyone call her that. If you want to repost without that, fine.

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  24. Screw the guardian your just a speck of pooo pooo!!!! The cure rocks love the cure for as long as it takes !!! Lol

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  25. I've said it before and I'll say it again, none of this would have happened if they hadn't gotten rid of Matthieu Hartley.

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    1. It's also the rockabilly bassist's fault.

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    2. A rockabilly bassist who prowled the stage no less!!! Maybe why Will Hodgkinson felt so trapped!

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  26. I say we lock the press out of the shows.
    How dare they try to tell Robert how to perform or tell us fans what we should want. I wish I could just laugh at their ignorance, bitterness and stupidity, but it makes me livid. Their stupid reviews have cost British fans a lot over the years. If you've ever wondered why The Cure don't play in the UK as much as Europe or America - just take a look at what the British press has published over the years - there's the reason why. I fucking hate those bastards.
    Don't listen to them, Robert - PLEASE. Just remember, your fans are right beside you - in the UK, as much as everywhere else.
    The 2 shows The Cure did at the RAH last weekend - they were fucking FANTASTIC. Your shows always are the best. We love you so much, Robert. Thankyou for being so amazing. The press are nothing - they just talk out of their arse.

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  28. Okay, I've had to remove a few posta . Please be civil. No personal attacks on Caroline. No calling her the C word, or anything else like that. And no sexist bullshit. Please be better than that. Thanks.

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    1. Wow, I didn't realize there were some rowdy fans out there

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    2. just feel I should point out that the C word did not feature in my post - that must have been in someone else's that got removed.
      that one's not on me.

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    3. I did. I'm upset at her lack of even thinking about why the show happened. Anyway it's gone, the moment is over.

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  29. The only thing Ms. Caroline didn't say is "enigma" and "metropolis"... ;)

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  30. Is this lady a relative of P L Travers, because she sure does act like her in a wild way.

    This is why the Cure performed so many songs. They are a great band with a lot of fans. The Cure will not be around forever and it's great to see Robert perform so well! She needs to understand what music means to people, as it could be their only release when they hear The Cure perform. She must not understand any reasoning why they played a show that long. Its not like they are touring day after day. Its only a few dates in the year. Why not go loud and long. The Cure is probably the only band that could even perform a show that lengthy.

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  31. so much drama! i don't think there's ever been this much high strangeness since i've been a fan! or if there was...i wasn't aware of it. shooting down the cure for playing a show tailor-made for fans?? i'm absolutely reeling from the stupidity.
    i'm not worried though. the critics don't live in my galaxy and will do what critics do best and what they do is frivolous to the absolute maximum. the very notion that robert had to respond to this nonsense...

    thank you for keeping it safe + clean, craig. ;)
    i adore you all and can't wait to see you soon.
    xx

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  32. Ah, fuck it,... WHY CAN'T I BE ME, said postman pat and his black and white, Purr!!, can't wait for the new dreams,doesn't it mean, "it's. A perfect Day to rip up the pages with all the bad news!@):-,"Let,s get happy.

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  33. Keep on, The Cure! You are right!

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  34. Check out Robert's follow up on this just posted on facebook!

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  35. the journo has been caught lying. its all in print. that would be the big story if it weren't so common.

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  36. Robert's off on Twitter/Facebook again. Good for him!

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  37. well to be honest - playing devil's advocate here - she may have a point - is quantity equivalent to quality? Does a long setlist always make a show better for the fans? There' something to be said about a short and focus album or a succinct book, wouldnt you say? I dont think any fan would claim that their preferred writers should always make their books as lengthy as possible. Just my two cents, flame on.

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    1. Understand what you are saying but the boys gave consistent quality throughout the whole concert.

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    2. As a journalist reporting for a leading national newspaper, she had a duty to report on what actually happened at the RAH!!! Her personal digs simply show how poor and unprofessional she is at her trade. Unfortunately dishonesty seems to be all too common but at least she has been exposed for what she really is...a sad hack!!!

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    3. PS Absolutely love and admire the way Robert responded, there's no way all this could be ignored!!!

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    4. sorry but all reviews are largely subjective affairs

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    5. Yes but it's about her Dishonesty!!!

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    6. she's not going to win this one. you cannot tell outright lies and expect good to come back to you. she's fucked with the wrong band and fanbase, frankly.

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  38. New reply from Robert on facebook:

    https://www.facebook.com/thecure/posts/10151977183731402

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  39. All journalists are entitles to their views. I disagree with the reviews of last weekend, but her reply article made it out that Robert replied as a result of the review. This would never have been broached had she not said the review had the band's approval. That is what moved them to reply. Really annoying that they are being portrayed as a band that would need to stoop that low. Very annoying article and hope that this is the end of it.

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  41. As cosmetic bands enter our worlds the have a short span then crash and burn.Some bands are enthralling and capture people's hearts and minds. The words resonate with where people are at the time and so begins a journey. Our passions ebb and flow listening to the Cure. Ups downs and in between days. The concert was mesmerizing. Thank you. After my wedding day I'd count being at the cure the best days since then. I'm hoping they'll play in Orange in France some day. If I have to walk from Cavan Ireland to get there I would.

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  43. They played on Lollapalooza last year 2 hours plus few minutes. It wasn't enough for me. Because their concert - this is opened door to Space and people who really like The Cure usually forget about time and everything else...

    I have old legs too. :) By the way The Cure members are not young too and they not only stand on a scene, but also play musical instruments.

    Never enough, never enough!

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  44. I know it's just one reviewer's opinion but it does reflect badly on The Guardian, which is, more often than not, doing a great job at reporting on many important issues from many different angles, has a great community of commenters, and gets a lot of respect for that, in the UK and elsewhere, esp the website. I remember RS gave his only interview for the Bestival show to the Guardian "because it is the most respected" (probably paraphrasing a bit here) so it's a shame it's come to this. In the interest of balance I think the Guardian should offer a genuine fan the opportunity to write a blog post about the shows, but just reading through the comments on both of Caroline's pieces gives a very different perspective...

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  45. The only "bad" Cure show I've ever seen was the only sub 3 hour Cure show I've ever been to... and even it wasn't *that* bad because, well, it was still The Cure playing Cure songs.

    Curiosa Festival.

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    1. Call me spoiled after seeing 'em so many times, but if The Cure don't have to have their exhausted corpses for rocked-out bodies dragged off the stage for breaking curfew, then it just doesn't feel like a complete show.

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    2. Exactly...words of a true fan!!!

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