The Cure concert review

The Cure

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The Cure and New York City pair well together: the angst, the love, the obsession, the spectacle. So it's no surprise that their show at Radio City Music Hall was nothing short of harmonious.

It would be something of an understatement to say that the band members are still good performers. They’re far better than a lot of their contemporaries. The first block of songs featured some of the band’s heavier material, which was played with incredible agility and speed. The sound was so loud, so immense, that Robert Smith’s vocals were difficult to discern. Could this really be the Cure, a band often labeled as slow and brooding? Indeed it could be, as they reached “Lovesong” five songs in, and Smith’s voice transmitted smoothly.

Though it’s largely filled with the kind of extreme emotion that tends to age songs quickly, the Cure’s catalog doesn’t sound dated. Even the more sentimental tunes fared unusually well. Instead of coming off as sappy or trite years later, hits like “Pictures of You” and “Just Like Heaven” sound as transcendent as they did the first time.

The three-hour set left the band plenty of time to change things up, and they took full advantage, pulling out long intros and outros, and playing a solidly diverse selection from their discography. They also played four new songs, a couple of which were impressively memorable, particularly “The Only One,” released as a single in May. Most incredible was closer (third encore closer, that is) “Forever,” a long-unreleased track that’s pulled out about once per tour. They transitioned into it directly from “A Forest,” and the combination made for the best 20 minutes of live music that most of the audience has probably seen in the past year, at least.

Smith pulled out the kind of theatrics one would hope for, pawing at the air above his head as if trying to catch a butterfly, and wandering around with widened eyes pointed at the group of standing spectators at the front of the stage. In true dramatic fashion, he climbed up the stairs that wrap around each side of the venue, going up out of reach of the spotlights to sing to (and touch the hands of) fans on the first balcony. At some point security was sent up to make sure he could safely get back down. Naturally, the audience relished every bit. After he asked a series of questions that were answered with roars of applause and cheers, he flirtingly said that the audience’s eagerness to appease him was why he didn’t talk much at shows – but it was difficult to believe that this was the truth and not just him in character.

But more important than anything else is the fact that, despite having only two of the original members, the Cure still sound like the Cure. They still have the ability to make people feel young and excited, in the best ways possible. What could be more healing than that?


1. Out Of This World
2. Want
3. Alt.End
4. The Baby Screams
5. The End of the World
6. Lovesong
7. A Letter To Elise
8. The Big Hand
9. Pictures of You
10. Lullaby
11. Catch
12. The Perfect Boy
13. Kyoto Song
14. Other Voices
15. The Only One
16. Hot Hot Hot
17. Sleep When I'm Dead
18. Doing The Unstuck
19. Push
20. Inbetween Days
21. Just Like Heaven
22. Charlotte Sometimes
23. The Hanging Garden
24. One Hundred Years
25. Bloodflowers

1st Encore:

26. Freakshow
27. Close To Me

2nd Encore:

28. Why Can't I Be You?
29. Boys Don't Cry
30. Jumping Someone Else's Train
31. Grinding Halt
32. 10:15 Saturday Night
33. Killing An Arab

3rd Encore:

34. A Forest
35. Forever

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