“And I realize with fright/That the spiderman is having me for dinner tonight,” sings Robert Smith ten songs into a three hour 34 song marathon performance at Phoenix’s Dodge Theater. Despite the front-man’s ominous lyrics, The Cure proved that their performances aren’t just a meeting ground for the doom and gloom crowd. Rather the Cure dish out a "full on" rock concert, where the capacity crowd stands throughout, even “dances,” and might even cause more sing-alongs than a Coldplay show.
Covering their entire catalog from “10:15 Saturday Night” off 1979’s Three Imaginary Boys, to the new single “The Only One” from their forthcoming album, The Cure visited all eras of their 29 year career. Joining Smith were longtime Cure-mates Porl Thompson (guitar) and Simon Gallup (bass) along with Jason Cooper (drums). Thompson, sporting a shaved head and eyeliner provided the eerie stage presence, but his guitar work was more lush and atmospheric than sinister, while Gallup’s robotic lead bass lines gave each tune a thundering rhythmic foundation. Drummer Cooper never tired throughout the three hours, keeping up between the band’s rich syncopated beats of “A Strange Day” or the soft melodies of “Inbetween Days.”
The setlist was built around their Disintegration era songs – “Pictures Of You,” “Fascination Street,” “Lullabye” and “Love Song.” Smith, who at 49 still hasn’t witnessed a good sun day, still appears as the “goth” poster-boy with his trademark black-eyeliner, lipstick and frazzled hair. However it’s Smith’s fragile tormented voice still sounds like his and his only, soft – delicate and shining in all forms of vulnerability with each poetic mood swing. Add a galvanizing light show, complete with Smith’s illuminated frazzled shadow on the theater’s side walls, and you can almost call The Cure’s stage image –“brooding.”
Although The Cure often straddle the line of 80’s Breakfast Club candy beats, they gave "dance rock 101" to all those Hot Chip pretenders out there. The quartet put the 80’s night themes aside during the first encore when they ran through five dark minimalist Seventeen Seconds compositions – “at night,” “m,” “play for today,” and “a forest.” As the three-hour show attested, when the Cure wants to get dark, they can still pull off “the goth,” otherwise there’s enough of a good mix to please any Cure era fan.
underneath the stars, want, fascination street, a night like this, the walk, the end of the world, lovesong, the big hand, pictures of you, lullaby, the perfect boy, from the edge of the deep green sea, the figurehead, a strange day, sleep when i’m dead, push, inbetween days, just like heaven, primary, the only one, hot hot hot, wrong number, signal to noise, one hundred years, baby rag dog book,
E1: at night, m, play for today, a forest,
E2: boys don’t cry, jumping someone else’s train, grinding halt, 10:15 saturday night, killing an arab