Revisiting the moment David Bowie performed live with The Cure’s Robert Smith
At a time when live music remains off the menu for the foreseeable future, we’re taking a trip back in time with our faithful Far Out Magazine ‘From The Vault’ section to enjoy a performance of the great David Bowie performing live with The Cure frontman Robert Smith.
The unique collaboration came as part of a Bowie’s 50th birthday bonanza, a spectacular concert at New York City’s iconic Madison Square Garden which included a wide array of special guests.
Opening up the show, Bowie performed renditions of ‘Little Wonder’ and ‘The Hearts Filthy Lesson’ before he introduced Pixies frontman Frank Black who joined in for versions of ‘Scary Monsters’ and ‘Fashion’. Bowie would then bring out Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters for a couple of numbers before things turned a little darker with the introduction of goth grandmaster Robert Smith.
Smith, who has never been shy to discuss his admiration for Bowie, once detailed certain ways in which he took inspiration from the Starman. “I listened to music before Bowie, obviously,” Smith once said of his influences. “I have an older brother and he played me Hendrix, Cream and Captain Beefheart… all that type of stuff from the 1960s but David Bowie was probably the first artist that I felt was mine.”
The Cure frontman added: “He was singing to me. He [Bowie] was the first album I ever bought; Ziggy Stardust was the first vinyl album I ever bought. I always loved how he did things as much as what he did. I love that idea of being an outsider and creating characters.”
Given years of fandom, Smith was finally given his chance to share a stage with an inspiration. Taking to the mic, Bowie said: “I have no idea where I’m going from here, but I promise I won’t bore you,” he told the crowd while on stage. He wasn’t joking.
Smith joined Bowie for Earthling’s ‘The Last Thing You Should Do’ and the Hunky Dory hit ‘Quicksand’. The duo performed acoustically with both Bowie and Smith on vocals and guitars.
Here it is:
David Bowie setlist:
The Hearts Filthy Lesson
Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) [with Frank Black]
Fashion (with Frank Black)
Hallo Spaceboy (with Foo Fighters)
Seven Years in Tibet (with Dave Grohl)
The Man Who Sold the World
The Last Thing You Should Do (with Robert Smith)
Quicksand (with Robert Smith)
Battle for Britain (The Letter)
The Voyeur of Utter Destruction (As Beauty)
I’m Afraid of Americans (with Sonic Youth)
Looking for Satellites
Under Pressure (Queen cover)
Queen Bitch (with Lou Reed)
I’m Waiting for the Man (The Velvet Underground cover) [with Lou Reed]
Dirty Blvd. (Lou Reed cover) [with Lou Reed]
White Light/White Heat (The Velvet Underground cover) [with Lou Reed]
Happy Birthday to You (Mildred J. Hill & Patty Hill cover) [Performed by Gail Ann Dorsey]
All the Young Dudes (with Billy Corgan)
The Jean Genie (with Billy Corgan)
With Frank Black, Billy Corgan, Dave Grohl, Lou Reed, Robert Smith and Sonic Youth all included, enjoy the full performance below.