the loud bassoon concert scene

The Cure @ The Vic, Chicago, USA
25 February 2000

The Cure show at the Vic was so fucking good it made me want to personally apologize to the band for not following them in recent years. I'd last seen them in 1992 on the Wish tour, and in intervening years, my interest in the Cure had steadily waned. Ten years ago I'd have to call myself a diehard, but nowadays I'd more accurately be described as a casual fan. I've left my collegiate depression years behind, although I do remain nostalgic for those good old days when Disintegration truly spoke to me.

What a stroke of fortune that SIC managed to score two tickets to this sold-out show … The Cure playing the Vic, a place far smaller than you'd normally catch 'em. As it turned out, we ended up about 15 feet from the stage, and it was just a phenomenal experience.

The band was dead on all night, and it was really cool seeing them up close, wherein you could actually see the band play the music. When I saw them previously, it was in enormous, reverby stadiums where you couldn't prove one way or another that the band was playing. It might was well have been a bunch of imposters in big floppy wigs for all I knew.

But this time around it was a tangible Cure, and they were playing (cliché though it may be) like they had something to prove. Robert Smith seemed to be trying to remedy The Cure's ever-increasing irrelevance factor by driving the band through a brilliant set-list spanning the band's career, but focusing on the darker stuff.

It was a serious argument, and it left me genuflecting profusely, furiously slapping myself around for selling back Pornography and my Wish singles.

This surprise show was a teaser for the forthcoming full-on Bloodflowers tour in support of the fantastic new album. Rather than a three hour marathon Cure set, this was a tight no-filler show that demonstrated Smith & Co.'s knack for servicing the fans – they know exactly what songs fans would die to hear, and they gave Chicago a couple of tunes they haven't been doing regularly on this mini-tour.

The set was heavy on Bloodflowers material, with some less obvious but incredibly welcome songs from earlier albums mixed in. Smith has been talking about how Bloodflowers is the third part in a trilogy that began with Pornography and continued with Disintegration … that is, a trilogy of albums where he kept his goofy side at bay.

I love the goofy side, sure, but this show really hit the spot. The band was committed, tight, and supremely "on" straight through. The new songs and old ones blended perfectly – "Watching Me Fall" into "Want" (from Wild Mood Swings) into "Fascination Street" into "The Last Day of Summer" – just an incredible show, a fan's dream show.

High points for me were "Fascination Street," "From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea" (from Wish), "Prayers For Rain," "Watching Me Fall," and the surprise appearance of "In Between Days" which nearly made me cry it was so good.

The set closed with an incredible, intense "Bloodflowers" (which closes the new album), and then we got THREE encores. The first one consisted of "A Strange Day" and "A Forest," both nastily good), and the second was the big surprise – Robert Smith called it "the encore between the encores" – "Just Like Heaven" and "Boys Don't Cry." The pure pop was refreshing, and even if you've heard those songs a million times before, it was an outstanding treat.

The final encore was "The Figurehead" and "Disintegration," which raised the stakes and ended the show on a heavy, heavy, heavy note. Left me weak in the knees, creamin' my jeans, and once again a true believer in the righteousness of total misery as the only lifestyle that matters.

Marring the experience slightly was the gigantic tool who was bopping around like an idiot bumping into me and everyone else around, not to mention obstructing the view at certain points. I don't know why, but I seem to be a magnet for these, 'cause I get one at nearly every rock show I go to. Maybe it's just that rock shows attract these gigantic tools. After awhile, though, I just ignored him and was able to really attach myself to the show.

I was a bit disappointed (but not surprised) that they didn't play the mellow "There is No If" off the new album. But when Robert Smith hit the line "Why are you crying? What did I say?" in "Deep Green Sea" I was totally reconverted and ready to dive back into the shadowy depths of my early 90s.

Hopefully I won't go so far as to go back to college, though. I'm sure there was a reason I got expelled, and I don't really want to open those old closets.


Out of This World
Watching Me Fall
Fascination Street
The Last Day of Summer
Maybe Someday
From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea
In Between Days
If Only Tonight We Could Sleep
Prayers For Rain
A Hundred Years
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A Strange Day
A Forest
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Just Like Heaven
Boys Don't Cry
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The Figurehead

Review by Ed Paley