Deer Lake Park felt just like heaven on Tuesday night as The Cure played a marathon show that featured classic hits, a couple of misses, and a handful of rarities.
Despite not having released a hit song in decades (1992’s “Friday I’m In Love” was their last biggie), Robert Smith and company are still a force to be reckoned with on the road. The Cure continues to sell out arenas on both sides of the pond and their 2016 trek is quickly becoming the stuff of legend – three hour sets, multiple encores, and revolving setlists to ensure that no two concerts sound alike.
Part of the fun last night was looking back over The Cure’s previous concerts trying to guess what songs would make the cut, and in what order. For example, they dusted off “Like Cockatoos” for the first time this year on Tuesday, a special treat for local fans who caught the rockers at Vancouver’s Expo Theatre in 1987 (“Like Cockatoos” was performed live for the first time ever that night). We also got “Kyoto Song” last night, marking only the second time the tune has been played this tour.
“Something that made me laugh…well, nothing makes me laugh but someone pointed me in the direction of an idea that setlists are done months in advance,” Smith told the crowd at Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park. “I love that idea – my life would be so fucking easy. I have people scream at me 15 minutes before the show saying ‘what are we playing? What are we playing?’ And even now I’m not sure.”
The Cure’s fast and loose approach to song selection didn’t faze the sold-out crowd, as they hung on to every word that came out of Smith’s lipstick-covered mouth. As expected, the night was filled with dark and gloomy jams coming from the stage but the atmosphere inside the park was anything but. Fans showed up dressed for a funeral procession but danced to “Pictures of You” like they were at a wake, and the weather cooperated even as the band performed “Prayers For Rain” at the show’s halfway mark.
The beautiful outdoor setting even managed to turn Smith’s signature frown upside down, if only for a moment. “I feel like I’m singing in my back garden!” the singer told us. “I’ll have to open up my eyes a bit more for the rest of this.”
To kick off their second encore, The Cure whipped out a new song called “Step Into The Light”, a somber, soothing track that would’ve been right at home on 1989’s Disintegration album. “Light” was followed by a trio of 90s tracks that included “Want” and “Burn”.
Just before their third(!) encore, Smith complained that his voice was starting to crack (the band had torn through 28 tracks by that point, with 6 more still to go). “In order to get my voice back, I’m going to sing some pop songs,” he promised, and the Vancouver crowd were more than happy to chime in on backup vocals on hits like “Why Can’t I Be You?” and closer “Boys Don’t Cry”.