Photo: Roni Rekomaa

A Night Like That: The Cure live at Ice Hall, Helsinki

Author John Wins - 14.10.2022

After three years, The Cure returned to Helsinki, led by the iconic Robert Smith, and did not disappoint fans at Helsingin Jäähalli.

The second show of the “Lost World Tour” not only marks the return of the legendary band to the stage since 2019, but for the first time shows songs that are part of an upcoming studio album, still without a release date.

The mood outside the venue was visible through the styles of the fans, with clothes and hair that indicated an appreciation for the band and musical style. Inside the hall it was possible to hear different languages, showing that fans from different countries were present to follow the gig on a Saturday night.

The opening band was chosen by Robert himself. Twilight Sad delivered a nice gig and a very polite approach of vocalist James Graham, despite the rest of the band not interacting much with the audience, neither on stage.

As the crew adjusted the equipment for the main act, a sound of rain could be heard over the speakers, bringing an air of melancholy and comfort, something that exemplifies the feeling of listening to The Cure.

Photo: Roni Rekomaa

When the members started to arrive, the first chords of the song “Alone” started to sound. A song which will be part of the already mentioned new album. With Robert Smith walking slowly the entire length of the stage, picking up the guitar just in the final minute of the song and a screen showing images of the sky, we were greeted by the sextet.

The anthem “Pictures of You” evidenced the return of guitarist/keyboardist Perry Bamonte after 17 years, but who was enjoying the stage with “youthful” energy was bassist Simon Gallup. “Kyoto Song” was one of the surprises of the night, as it was played for the first time on this tour and showed a happy Robert, walking, gesturing and showing that even after so many years, his voice continues in the same way that it immortalized generations.

The screen layout played with inverted cameras, angles and images of the band in real time, which was even more beautiful with “A Night Like This”, has magnificent work by guitar virtuoso Reeves Gabrels. Keyboardist Roger O’Donnell is another familiar face in the band’s history, showing his talent in another surprise moment of the night with “Charlotte Sometimes”.

The night was until then very intimate in the relationship between band and audience, but when Simon‘s bass sounded with a well-known line, countless smartphones appeared to record the beauty of the one and only “Lovesong”. The live arrangement for “If Only Tonight We Could Sleep” was covered with lights that seemed to simulate a lighthouse, as the vocalist delivered an enthusiastic performance.

We can talk a lot without saying a word. Not only did Robert express a lot with his hands during the return of “Cold” on this tour, but he also sang with his iconic voice.

Jason Cooper may not be your favorite drummer in the group’s discography, but in “Burn” he showed a lot of quality. The rhythm part was remarkable in the partnership with Simon, who interacted with Robert and Reeves many times. Like Kyle Broflovski once said, “Disintegration is the best album ever” and when “Fascination Street” played it just showed he was never wrong about his affirmation. Light show and psychedelia.

Reeves performed his good taste on “The Hungry Ghost,” another tour debut, but it wasn’t enough for many people, so they did use the opportunity to buy a drink or go for a smoke. Fortunately, the energy was restored with one of the discography’s most immersive songs: “Push”, which showed an angle of Cooper’s back and the sea of people who showed up in the hall.

Photo: Roni Rekomaa

If “Want” had an amazing instrumental, “Shake Dog Shake” showed a stunning screen layout with each member playing with shadows and lights, while the live version continued to give quality on stage. Robert‘s familiar acoustic guitar debuted while Reeves beautifully plays his guitar on “From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea”. All of this covered in red and green lights, of course.

The second and final unreleased song of the night brought even more introspective tones. “Endsong” not only ended the first moment of the show, but showed the band’s concentration, being the track that the guys were actually playing for themselves, glowed under a blood moon on the big screen.

The return to the encore brought a good beat on drums, but who really shined on “At Night” was Roger, adding all the immersion and ambience. The three guitars were present when “M” appeared again on the setlist, not only demonstrating the incredible memory Robert has for memorizing so many lyrics, but also making the singer shine in the spotlight. A living legend! The pulsing lights during “Play for Today” don’t quite match the audience’s reaction, which showed little enthusiasm at the time.

Closing the sequence of the album “Seventeen Seconds” and also the end of first encore, the post-punk anthem “A Forest” brought a package of unforgettable moments, such as the characteristic green lights, the subtlety of poetry in Robert‘s voice, the timeless groove of Simon and the audience interaction synchronizing a sea of ​​claps with the closing beat.

Robert was talking to the audience when a giant spider’s web colored the digital landscape. “Lullaby” not only remains fresh, but gains even more beauty with the work of the now guitar trio. Speaking of quality, Roger was great on “The Walk”, which was nearly eclipsed by the group’s biggest commercial success, which always reminds us of a special day of the week. “Friday I’m in Love” also marks the 30th anniversary of the release of “Wish”, released in the distant year of 1992, yet another timeless song in their career.

Even with a small mistake of keyboardist Roger in the beginning, the beauty of the design of the cameras on the big screen and the mix of joy and melancholy of “In Between Days” put thousands of smiles on the faces of the fans, showing that yesterday we got a little older, but tonight we are young again with the soundtrack of our lives.

Once again, with calm moves and looking around, Robert Smith walked, interacted and made everyone feel unique with his verses in “Close to Me”. Despite the band having two keyboardists again, “Just Like Heaven” kept the arrangement of the last tours, but still it is beautiful, always showing the quality of the lyrics and interpretations of the vocalist. With Roger playing tambourine, the last song chosen was “Boys Don’t Cry” giving rhythm to the last verses of the night.

Robert joked that three years ago he promised he would learn some Finnish, which he didn’t fulfill, but that next time he’ll be able to say something, still, 27 songs were enough to speak fluently to every fan on another autumn night in the Finnish capital.

The joy on people’s faces after the end of the show was noticeable. Underneath the makeup, bangs and lipstick, lots of smiles and the certainty of warmth on the way back home. The Cure remains a living legacy with art at its most beautiful form, always with disheveled hair, but saying what we feel in a unique way.

Photo: Roni Rekomaa