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Indie-goth hitmakers of the 1980s, the Cure are still out there touring. And they took their act through the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood this past month. On a Monday night, the U.K. natives showed that they are not only still a relevant band but they are a force to be reckoned with. In a show that topped out at over three hours and more than 40 tunes, lead singer Robert Smith and a gradually expanding band offered nothing short of a history of the Cure's evolution.
In sequence, the band played the first three albums; Three Imaginary Boys (1979), Seventeen Seconds (1980) and Faith (1981). With the performance of each album, the trio became a quartet and thereafter a quintet. The addition of one keyboard and then another helped to represent the layers of progress experienced by the band during its own historical evolution. With each tune, the Cure was at its spiky and despairing best. Indeed, the reflection on its earliest recordings demonstrated that the band still has the energy and vitality to play to its punky roots. Tunes like "Fire in Cairo," "Accuracy" and its fiery take on Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady" found the band in tremendous form.
To be sure, Robert Smith is a little plumb and could really use a haircut and conditioner. But his spooky, strangled falsetto lilt is unchanged from the band's earliest recordings, now three decades old. It is also of note that in spite of the band's reputation for doom and gloom, they really do appear to be enjoying themselves on stage. And in Hollywood on this particular night, they played albums from when they were younger with all of the joy and abandon of kids.