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06.25.08

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Phaedra

JAZZ ON THE PLAZZ: Claire Martin mixes up her repertoire with songs by Nick Drake, Stevie Wonder and Radiohead.

The Cure

HP Pavilion

By Steve Palopoli


It was more than 15 years ago that I last saw The Cure—at Spartan Stadium, if you can believe it. It was the tour for Wish, and like many a maladjusted 80s teenager, I had been a fan for years. It was only the third rock show I'd ever been to, and it blew me away. They concentrated on their newest material, playing most everything from the Wish albums, as well as its immediate predecessors Disintegration and Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me.

And strangely enough, at the Cure's HP Pavillion show, it was suddenly like 1992 all over again. They opened with Disintegration epics like "Prayers For Rain," dug deep into Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, and played most of Wish. I was occasionally confused by questions that would pop into my head like "Is this exactly the same show I saw before?" and "What year is it again?"

It wasn't exactly the same show, of course, and some of the overlap is explained simply by the fact that those albums contain several of their most-loved songs, from "Just Like Heaven" to "Lullaby," "Lovesong" "Doing The Unstuck" and "Pictures of You" (all of which they played, to many squeals from fans). But it's not like people are clamoring to hear "End" or "From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea" 15 years later, right?

Well, right, probably, but I think I've figured it out. It's not that the Cure have been playing the same set over and over for years (one possibility I considered) or that their set list has cycled around again to this 1987-1992 era (my back-up theory). It's simply that the Cure play all of their songs every night, or at least as many as they can get out before someone turns the lights up on them.

No one was leaving the Pavilion show thinking they didn't get enough Robert Smith, that's for sure. They played for almost three hours, coming back for three lengthy encores. This is apparently par for the course these days for a Cure show—maybe it always was and I've simply blocked out how long the 1992 show was. It's just like heaven for diehard fans, but I don't know about casual fans. Do they leave after they've heard the hits? Hopefully not, since crafty Mr. Smith and company save almost all of the early stuff for the encores. "Boys Don't Cry," "Jumping Someone Else's Train," "10:15 Saturday Night," "Killing An Arab"—even "Grinding Halt," a minor track off the first album. Great stuff. Hell, even the new songs from their upcoming album seemed good.

I remember how for a few years there every Cure tour seemed to be the "farewell tour." This one wasn't, but you wouldn't know that from how the band left it all on the floor. They played like it was some giant Cure Apocalypse—play 'em all, and let God sort 'em out.


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