I recently attended the first night of The Cure’s Reflections Tour at the Pantages Theater. It’s a large seated venue normally used for Broadway musical type performances, so very different from most concert halls and venues. This wasn’t my first time seeing the Cure, but it was my first time seeing them at their own tour (not headlining a festival). I’d seen them a couple times before at Download 2007 and Coachella 2010.
The Reflections tour is interesting because it starts with them playing their first 3 albums (Three Imaginary Boys, Seventeen Seconds, and Faith) in their entirety (with breaks in between) and ends with several encores of hits and b-sides. The festival sets I saw were long, but usually had the older songs during one of the encores. The band lineup was stripped down to a 3 piece for the first album, then added the keyboardist to the 2nd album set, and the original drummer to the 3rd.
As far as fans go, I’m not nearly as hardcore as most and I haven’t even heard all their albums. I’m likely just another music lover who happens to enjoy Robert Smith’s signature moan – be it happy or sad (though I do prefer the happy songs, which is probably not like a hardcore fan). The first Cure album I owned was “Head on the Door” – one of my choices from those music clubs that you could order CDs by mail. I got into the Cure between the “Wish” album and “Wild Mood Swings,” which didn’t really appeal to me though I did like “Mint Car” and “Jupiter Crash.”
There were definitely many Cure songs on the radio that were good, back when KROQ played better music (early to mid 90’s). I was borrowing CDs from my local library back then and was able to enjoy the albums before deciding to buy them. But enough reflecting on my own past, the show on Monday night was phenomenal – showing the wide range of styles that the Cure has been playing over the years, while Robert gave brief explanations of the band’s history before each set. You don’t have to be a hardcore fan to appreciate a band that plays 45 songs over 6 sets and have most of them be both recognizable and enjoyable.
The Cure is a bit more popular than a lot of bands that formed in the late 70’s and one of the few that is both successful and still playing large venues. One other reason I never really got into seeing them live before is the cost of tickets and my lack of knowing anyone who wanted to see them. I am fortunate to have a friend who’s a big enough fan to fly out for just one show, get tickets for both of us, and dress up in true goth fashion. It helped that it was also my birthday, so this was definitely a treat for me.
They were already very popular when I got into them and this is actually more of a hindrance for me to like a band because it means tickets are more expensive and harder to get. Doing online ticket sales helps, but I did happen to oversleep the morning the tickets went on sale. I felt bad for my friend, who suggested we both try to get a pair of tickets for different days. It all worked out in the end and we both enjoyed it despite sitting in different sections of the orchestra. My camera’s zoom helped a lot in the huge venue and it was very nice to be able to see the stage through the zoomed camera lens at times.
Because so many people were taking video, I didn’t bother adding to the flood of YouTube videos that have already been uploaded. My guess is that the whole show is probably online already, which is nice for the fans who weren’t able to attend. It seems a lot of people traveled from far away for the show. I did end up taking a huge amount of photos, which is what I always end up doing when I bring my good camera to a concert. I got a lot of good shots, but it really wasn’t until “Let’s Go To Bed” at the start of the 3rd and final encore when Robert Smith became really animated and started doing some funny movements that were very amusing.
The following link to my Flickr photo set will show just how shutter happy I got during the show, it’s not necessarily because I like taking pictures – I just get this need to capture the moments every so often and when a show lasts over 3 hours, there are lots of moments to capture:
My Photos of The Cure @ The Pantages on November 21, 2011
If you’re curious about seeing the whole setlist, it’s up on this website called Setlist.fm:
Setlist for the Cure @ The Pantages on November 21, 2011