I’ll try and keep this one relatively brief, since I’ve already devoted a few prior posts to The Cure. But I wanted to get something written up for their Pasadena Daydream performance before too much time has lapsed. The Brit five-piece headlined the festival at Brookside Park, a.k.a. the Rose Bowl’s adjacent golf course/parking lot, on 08.31.19.
I’ll just start out by stating that this is one of the better, slicker, and more streamlined performances I’ve seen these longtime vets do in recent years. It also qualifies as one of their shorter shows, due to the festival confines of limited set length … if two hours and twenty minutes can be considered short. Typically, they play in the three hour range. But I think the abbreviated runtime functioned as a tighter, cleaner edit, making for a lean selection of greatest hits that kept the energy on high.
Plus, they sounded incredible. And founder/frontman Robert Smith genuinely looked like he was having a great time. At age 60, he should be, having taken The Cure through four adventurous decades of alternative music-making history, even getting inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, with NIN’s Trent Reznor doing the honors.
The show itself stuck primarily to ’92 and prior, with the exception of “39,” a wonderfully intense detour from 2000’s underrated “Bloodflowers.” Most of the crowd near me didn’t recognize it. And for a brief moment, I thought it might have been a new track as well.
Once again, The Cure offered a generous helping off their acclaimed ’89 album “Disintegration,” seven songs in all, with the runner up being “The Head on the Door,” with four tracks. They did something similar way back in ’16, when they played the first of three Hollywood Bowl shows. That’s just fine by me, since these are my two favorite Cure LP’s.
I should add that the standout from that grouping was a magical version of “Pictures of You,” which brought the entire thousands-strong crowd singing in unison. I never thought I’d see that at a Cure show. But then again, this is my first time experiencing them in a festival setting. Usually, it’s just them and one or two openers, not nine additional bands that Smith selected himself.
I’ll have another post that covers the rest of the day. But similar to a couple of previous stadium-sized shows, the Pixies and Mogwai returned to the fold. Although, I hear that both have also been playing at The Cure’s overseas anniversary shows/festivals, as well.
The rest of the performance covered a selection of early tracks that I haven’t heard performed in years … “Primary,” “Play for Today,” “The Walk,” and a whimsical version of “The Caterpillar.” All were performed flawlessly, as one might expect from a band that’s been running 40 years.
Of course, The Cure’s gone through a number of line-up changes, with Smith being the one constant. But bassist/keyboardist Simon Gallup has been there since ’79, and keyboardist Roger O’Donnell has been in and out of the band since ’87. Guitarist Reeves Gabrels is the “newest” member, joining in 2012, and drummer Jason Cooper rounds out the five-piece, keeping the beat since ’95. So they’ve had plenty of time to perfect the live presentation, even if they haven’t released a new album in near 11 years.
I didn’t record “39,” although I wish I did. But I got a handful of “Disintegraton” and “The Head on the Door” classics, including the aforementioned “Pictures of You,” an unfortunately messy capture of set opener “Plainsong,” due to general crowd chaos, and an annoyingly tall man in front of me, and a personal favorite off the latter album “A Night Like This.”
I skipped a lot of the hits, since I featured those in a previous post of their ’16 Bowl show. But I did film some of the oldies I mentioned, as well as a few other gems … “Fascination Street,” “Burn,” “From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea,” “Why Can’t I Be You?” There’s 11 tracks in all from a 27 song set.
The Cure perform “Plainsong” at Pasadena Daydream at Brookside Park on 08.31.19.
The Cure perform “Pictures of You” at Pasadena Daydream at Brookside Park on 08.31.19.
The Cure perform “A Night Like This” at Pasadena Daydream at Brookside Park on 08.31.19.
The Cure perform “Burn” at Pasadena Daydream at Brookside Park on 08.31.19.
The Cure perform “Fascination Street” at Pasadena Daydream at Brookside Park on 08.31.19.
The Cure perform “From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea” at Pasadena Daydream at Brookside Park on 08.31.19.
The Cure perform “Play for Today” at Pasadena Daydream at Brookside Park on 08.31.19.
The Cure perform “Primary” at Pasadena Daydream at Brookside Park on 08.31.19.
The Cure perform “The Caterpillar” at Pasadena Daydream at Brookside Park on 08.31.19.
The Cure perform “The Walk” at Pasadena Daydream at Brookside Park on 08.31.19.
The Cure perform “Why Can’t I Be You?” at Pasadena Daydream at Brookside Park on 08.31.19.