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Story and Photos by Andy ArgyrakisLast fall, fans of The Cure had a true test of patience when the gothic-tipped alternative rockers postponed a full-fledged arena tour in favor of finishing its thirteenth studio CD (out September 13 on Suretone/Geffen Records). Though refunds were offered for those original concerts, there were no signs of an attendance drop off when ringleader Robert Smith and company finally visited Chicagoland, making good on their promise to "make sure that the new shows are more than worth the wait."
Despite the band still putting the finishing touches on that yet to be titled new album, the Chicago-area masses were treated to a sneak peak at the CD thanks in part to its jumpy new single "The Only One." Like many key cuts from its thirty year lineage, the track surged with Smith's nervous vocal twitches and his backers' hypnotic rhythms, though it found definite footing in present tense. In fact, throughout the band's overly generous three hour marathon, it was evident just how many seminal singles its amassed over the years, not to mention the vast influence upon younger acts like Interpol and Editors (to name a few).
Early evidence came from "Lullaby" and the equally entrancing "Pictures of You," both of which unveiled Smith's emotive songwriting sphere across updated arrangements. Beyond these delightfully dour reflections, the set was packed with plenty of more celebratory subjects, from the quirky frolic of "Lovesong" to the group's carefree commercial apex "Friday I'm In Love" and the scat-filled alternative jazz flourishes of "The Lovecats." And as the initial set flowed into three encore segments, the variety continued thanks to the swinging sensibilities of "Close To Me," the sputtering dance rock of "Boys Don't Cry" and the punkish spirit of "Jumping Someone Else's Train."
While Smith sported his signature hair style (often described as the aftermath of sticking a finger in the light socket), his even more puffy physique was far less flattering. Though once the subject of teenage infatuation throughout the 1980s and early 90s, middle age hasn't been nearly as kind to the entertainer and resulted in significantly less nimble movements than yesteryear. But much more integral in the overarching context of The Cure, his voice still sported an urgent insistence, suggesting that whatever additional tracks the band has planned for its thirteenth chapter, they're sure to sound "Just Like Heaven."
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