Five Thoughts on The Cure Sunday Night

1. Legendary alternative rock giants The Cure spent their weekend at the Beacon Theater, where each night they performed their first three albums; the spiky, youthful debut Three Imaginary Boys, the atmospheric and cinematic Seventeen Seconds and Faith, the wonderful bum-out that established them as Goth OGs. They only did a few of these run-throughs throughout the world, and only two in America, and last night was the last one. So people were going a bit nuts, even for curiosities like "Plastic Passion," a goofy song about kitchen appliances that was a bonus track on the American import on Boys. The Cure have always kept their early '80s material in the setlist, as there is always plenty of room. (The Cure almost always play for more than three hours.) But most of those early cuts are singles like "A Walk" and "Boys Don't Cry" that have found their way on to a few best-ofs. These full-album performances are likely the first time beloved deepcuts like the driving "Grinding Halt" and the near tribal "The Drowning Man" have been performed in quite a while, and the superfans in the audience were standing at attention for these album tracks as though they were "Just Like Heaven."

2. One of the fun things about the show was the way it presented an audio history of The Cure's development. You could hear how the upbeat, simply pop of Boys would later mutate into the synth-led dance pop of singles like "Let's Go To Bed" and see how the instrumental, ambient interludes of Seconds later informed the brittle, heart-in-a-freezer atmosphere of Faith and would later lead to the epic, intro and outro happy song suites of Disintegration. You could also see ideas that and phases that the band wisely abandoned during their evolution; you are never ready to hear a harmonica solo at a Cure show.

3. There is something deeply beautiful about 40-something super fans that are not too self-conscious to don full Robert Smith lipstick and eye shadow for things like this. Keep in mind these people almost certainly had to put this stuff on and then get on the subway, and they are no longer teenagers who love getting weird looks from people, and they didn't let any of that stop them. These diehards are an inspiration to us all.

4. The Cure has been through an army of black-clad musicians in their four decades of existence, and for Reflections they invited back departed keyboardists and percussionists Lol Tolhurst and Roger O'Donnell, who helped make the Faith run-through extra brittle, turning all of Beacon in to the sonic equivalent of a blackened bedroom from which no pure soul could bear to leave. (Superfans were quite shocked that Tolhurst got the nod, as he sued the band for business reasons back in the day.) The outside world tends to treat The Cure as Robert Smith and Some Other People, but let's give some love to bassist Simon Gallup, who has played on all but two of their albums. His driving basslines turned "Primary" and "A Forest" into inevitable forces of nature, like black clouds of downer vibes that could not be contained. Gallup's inventive playing has proven endlessly influential on a generation of rock and dance acts decades later, and the man himself seemingly does not age, looking like a late 20-something capable of contorting his body as his rhythms demand with no concern for straining his back.

5. After running through all the albums and many of the b-sides from 1979-1981, The Cure cheated and played "In Between Days" and "Close To Me" from 1985. Perhaps against the spirit of the night, but I doubt anyone would have been mad if they kept going and ran through all of The Head on the Door while they were at it. Next time?

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