Thursday, April 23, 2009

Live Show Review-- The Cure in Las Vegas

This past weekend I headed out to California for my 8th annual Coachella Festival. Given that The Cure are my favorite band in the world, I was pretty happy when they were announced as headliners. Then I was really bummed when I found out they were playing a show on the Friday of Coachella in Vegas at the Palms Casino Pearl Theatre which only holds about 2500 people. I made the incredibly hard decision to skip an awesome Coachella Friday to make the pilgrimage to see what I thought would be the best Cure concert in recent years. It had all the makings of greatness: small venue, fan friends converging from all over the world to sin city, close proximity of Robs 50th bday, hopes of the ever elusive 'dark set' to counter the likely hits set for a festival......

It started out all wrong. The casino was allowing line ups for the show beginning at 6:30, anyone loitering before then was supposedly going to be escorted off the premises. Of course we were all there at 4 anyways, just hanging around. The line up never happened. Eventually they just ushered us all in to this sort of holding area, everyone pushing to get in. There was no semblance of a line whatsoever. Then they decided to try and check tickets to give out wristbands for the GA floor. It worked out for me, but those first in were last to get their bands. Thankfully, I had researched the venue beforehand and had a plan. I knew there were about 5 flights of stairs that had to be descended to get to the floor, when they opened the corral I was running down and was able to procure 3 front rail spots for me and my girls right in front of Simon (my next preferred spot besides Rob). The show was scheduled to start at 8, but they did not come out until 8:45, another sign that it would be a weird night.

The show finally began with the new song 'Underneath the Stars', great new tune. The waves crash in and you think you are listening to a early 90's Cure song. I was thrilled to hear this one open the show as I had seen them 4 times on the 4:13 Dream Tour and somehow never managed to hear it.The set list was great. Aside from back to back songs off of the lackluster self titled release (why don’t they ever play anything from Bloodflowers anymore?), everything was awesome. Highlights for me were 'To Wish Impossible Things', 'Want', 'From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea', 'Prayers For Rain', 'One Hundred Years', and my all time favorite 'Disintegration'. The band was tight, as usual. Porl was tearing up the guitar making us all thankful that he is back in the band. Simon was downing Coronas throughout the show like it was his job, kind of unusual.

Then comes time for the encores, if you have ever seen the Cure live you know they do about 3-4 encores. I have seen them perform over 15 times so I knew what to expect. As they came out for the first encore, we all sang Robert happy birthday and donned party hats. It was really awesome, I'm not really sure if he knew what was going on but he managed to mumble something about his birthday and looked pretty happy. We threw all the hats on stage then.

The first encore was a 'Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me' encore. At the end of 'The Kiss', Simon threw his bass down on the ground and just walked off. We all thought that was strange, he never does that. After they all came back for the second encore, they tore through some 'Seventeen Seconds' stuff. They played 'A Forest' which is always a show highlight. After Rob runs through the end with his psychedelic guitar part, Simon usually kills it on bass to end the song....... not tonight. Simon just ended when the guitar was over and they all walked off.The techs came out and tuned up for the next encore. It’s usually all old school stuff like 'Killing an Arab' and 'Boys Don't Cry'. We were all hoping for 'Faith' as well, the much coveted and rarely played closer. All of a sudden cue in the stage music and house lights. Everyone looked around in amazement, like it was a bad joke being played on us all. Robert didn’t even say goodnight and thank you like he always does.

In all my years of seeing them live, I have never seen them end a show this way.I was able to get a set list and sure enough, there were about 7 songs, including ‘Faith’ that never got played. We all speculated that maybe Simon was in a bad mood; maybe it was Porl, what the heck happened? The potential for greatness gave way to disappointment. I started to think I should have gone to day one of Coachella after all. But then I heard that Robert hurt his hand during 'The Kiss' and now I feel bad for doubting them at all.