New World Music Theater
June 9, 2000
Story and Photo by Tony BonyataThe Cure have always been somewhat of an enigma in the world of rock. Even though today they could, mistakenly, be perceived as one of the many '80s synth bands that faded into obscurity, their dark, loathing lyrics and haunting Gothic music has amassed a large cult of followers, faithfully waiting in the wings for the return.
After a three-year hiatus, The Cure's vocalist / guitarist / songwriter Robert Smith has given his loyal minions cause to revel. Their latest album Bloodflowers, although more one-dimensional than previous efforts, finds the band retracing the gloomy, Goth-rock path they helped pave in the early '80s. Last week, in support of Bloodflowers, Smith, along with latest bandmembers Simon Gallup (bass), Roger O'Donnell (keyboards), Perry Bamonte (guitar) and Jason Cooper (drums), brought their hopeful blend of doom to the New World Music Theater in Tinley Park, Illinois.
Smith took the stage with his trademark ill-applied blood-red lipstick, thick mascara and disheveled bird's nest hairdo, only this time there was something a little different in his presence. Judging from his increasing size, it looks as if he has traded his backstage, post-show finger food in exchange for Shoney's all-u-can-eat buffets. Even though he may have looked like Liz Taylor with a raging hangover, Smith's unique voice and chilling rhythm guitar was, nonetheless, in top form.
The band ran through much of the stronger material from Bloodflowers such as "Out of This World," "Watching Me Fall," "39," "The Loudest Sound" and "Maybe Someday". Casual fans expecting an all-hits tour may have been slightly disappointed, even though they did throw in the trippy, industrial "Fascination Street," "Lovesong," "Just Like Heaven" and the one song that probably best defines this band - the jangley "Inbetween Days."
It became increasingly apparent throughout the show, however, that the majority of the audience were more than just casual fans. From the front row to the last grassy patch of the lawn, the thirty-something audience stood on their feet for the entirety of the show, transfixed to The Cure's monochromatic, psychedelic Goth-rock. Even the slower numbers, which almost begged to be seated through, couldn't get the crowd's knees to bend.
For the devoted, Smith and company dusted off rare gems like "All Cats are Grey," "Jupiter Crash," "A Forest," "Drowning Man" and "Faith." While most rock acts only perform from an hour-and-a-half to two hours max, The Cure gave their faithful fans a wonderfully long show filled with both hits and obscurities (old and new) - playing a ten-song encore for a show that ran almost three hours long.
Although he cried the bittersweet lyrics, "I used to feed the fire, but the fire is almost out,"during "39," a number which professes the demise of The Cure, Smith proved onstage that his band's flame was still burning red hot.
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