Robert Smith, The Cure, Captivate at Hollywood Bowl
By CRAIG HAMMONS
The sun was setting over the Hollywood Hills and the blood red moon was beginning to rise.
On this night it was very appropropriate that on National Goth Day The Cure would open their 3 night sold-out engagement at the Hollywood Bowl.
The Cure started their North American Tour on May 10, 2106 in New Orleans and they will play 26 shows in the USA before doing over 75 shows in 20 + countries.
Ever-Changing Set List
This evening’s show would cover over 37 years of Cure songs including the hits, rarities and two unreleased tracks.
So far the set list has changed each night digging deep into their catalog of impressive material. Tonight’s show would cover 35 songs in just under 3 hours.
After a brief instrumental tape of some wild Dixieland jazz The Cure wandered out on the stage to open with the first three tracks from their 1989 release Disintegration. The opening power chords of “Plainsong” had the crowd in bliss as their favorite band in the world was back. They went right into “Pictures of You” and “Closedown” before moving stepping back further to 1985’s Head on the Door.
A powerful “A Night Like This,” “Push” and “In Between Days” sounded fresh as ever and fit nicely into the set as darkness arrived.
Robert Smith’s voice sounded stronger than ever, Simon Gallup’s bass playing was on fire while drummer Jason Cooper never seemed to stop playing and Reeves Gabrels kept up the pace shredding on tracks like “Wrong Number” and “Never Enough.”
The Cure pulled tracks from almost every one of their albums even playing two new tracks. The set was well paced with “Fascination Street” and “The End of the World” fitting nicely together and “Love Song” and “Just Like Heaven” bringing cheers and tears from the audience.
Rarely Played Songs
Then they slipped in “2 Late” a B side from Disintegration which was only played live once before at a benefit in 2014. The night really was coming to peak when they went into “One Hundred Years” with the lights going off in every direction. They ended with “Disintegration” but only 90 minutes in we knew we were in much more.
The first song of the first encore was “It Can Never Be the Same” a song that could have fit easily into their early catalog. A very definitive Cure song with an edgy guitar riff. The title of this new song is written across Smith’s main guitar. I hope this is a sign that a new album is on the way as the last new Cure album was “4:13” back in 2008. Ending the first encore was “A Forest” a bona-fide early hit with with its blistering bass riff and a manic rhythm. I could listen to this song again and again and again.
The second encore Robert Smith finally addressed the audience saying “this song is our only rock and roll song” before launching into a ferocious “Shake Dog Shake.”
Although Robert is not one to talk much to the audience it was odd that the video cameras that feed the video screens stayed stationary all night never once showing Smith on the video screens? This must have let some fans down in the back of the Bowl.
Before ending the second encore they made it all the way back to 1984 with two tracks from The Top” playing “Piggy in the Mirror” and “Give Me It”. Even though some of these songs are over 30 years old they sounded new and fresh by a band that is seems timeless.
By the time they got to the third encore the fans were still on their feet wanting more. Opening with another new song “Step Into the Light” a melodic song that builds to a big drum finish as Robert Smith sings “we need to step out of the shadows and step into the light”. Just when you thought you had enough they went into “Never Enough”. This seemed to be the Cure’s theme song as they weren’t even close to being done yet. Next up was an odd choice a song called “Burn” from The Crow soundtrack. This is really a lost gem that fit right into this epic night. They ended this encore with a “Wrong Number” a track from Wild Mood Swings that rocked the house once again.
Encore four brought out fan favorites. No one was going away disappointed. This band of enduring power and honesty to their craft then played “The Lovecats” which made us all feel like we were young again, “Hot Hot Hot” had us dancing in the aisles and singing along to every word and “Why Can’t I Be You” kept us in awe of such a wonderful evening with such a mighty and majestic band. Ending the night was “Boys Don’t Cry” going all the way back to 1979 from their first US release Three Imaginary Boys.
To think that this all started in 1979 as the Easy Cure formed by Robert Smith and a few of his mates from school who were listening to the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd. But when they heard the Stranglers they thought this is it. From then till now The Cure have did it their way connecting to their legion of fans thru their music and lyrics. We all felt connected as we exited the Bowl happy as we had just experienced more than a concert but a gift that will last in our memories forever.
Video courtesy of VinylPiper