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The Cure @ The Allstate Arena

Saturday, May 24, 2008

May. 21, 2008
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Not that they seem all that concerned about their legacy at this point, but The Cure made a mighty strong case for why they’re one of the greatest pop bands of all time—the greatest pop?—Saturday night with a super-sized concert that covered every phase of their 30-year career. The set was dominated by hits: “Boys Don’t Cry,” “In Between Days,” “Close To Me,” “Why Can’t I Be You?” “Just Like Heaven,” “Pictures of You,” “Lovesong,” “Never Enough,” “Friday I’m in Love;” if most of the crowd wanted to hear it, they played it.

  That’s not to say the show was just a greatest-hits victory lap; newer material rounded out the set, some of it from the band’s vital and mostly great 2004 self-titled album, some of it from their upcoming follow-up. If the new songs don’t prove as timeless as The Cure’s vintage material, they sure go down easy. Who cares if their newest single, “The Only One,” is a retread of their Wish-era radio pop (and a virtual rewrite of “High”)? What fan wouldn’t be thrilled to have more music this romantic, this dramatic, this brilliantly dumb?

  No Cure concert review would be complete without the obligatory mention of Robert Smith’s weight—yeah, he packed on the pounds a few years ago, and no, he seems to have no plans to lose them—but underneath the padding he’s the same big-hearted entertainer he’s always been, with expressive, make-up enhanced high-beam eyes that make it appear like he’s staring directly at you from across the arena.

  He was in rough shape this weekend. Through a sore throat he explained that he’d considered canceling the show, but having already postponed it once when The Cure scrapped a tour last year, he didn’t feel like scheduling it a third time. Despite his apologies claiming otherwise, his singing voice was barely affected, but by the end of the long evening he looked worn down.

  For a guy so ill, he sure went all out, though: He didn’t need to mine every single crevice of The Cure’s discography; he didn’t need to play for nearly three hours; he didn’t need to do a whooping three encores, and he certainly didn’t need to do the adorable limp-kitty-paw dance when he sang “Lovecats,” but he did anyway, and for that I love him.


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