American Airlines Center, Dallas
Sunday, May 15, 2016
If anyone could make 19,000 people feel dejectedly jolly, it would be Robert Smith. The Sussex man synonymous with sadness gave Dallas four encores Sunday as the Cure firmly planted their feet in alternative roots during a nearly three hour show at American Airlines Center. This was the band's first North American tour in eight years, so maybe the extended show was overdue.
If you came for the hits, you got your fix. Granted, there were some more than noticeable omissions from the setlist, such as "Friday I'm In Love" and "Maybe Someday." But Smith infused the AAC with the yearning of "Pictures of You" and "Just Like Heaven" before he was done.
Between the singles lay another hook for the close listener. The band, which has varied the setlist widely throughout the first four stops on its latest jaunt through North America, got Dallas' attention by starting with the first three tracks from the seminal 1989 album, Disintegration.
Nine of 19 pre-encore selections came from that iconic goth rock masterpiece, and mostly in order. After "Pictures of You" and "Closedown," ticket buyers looked at their plus-ones, evaluating their worth for this singular moment should the live album constitute the whole show.
But it didn't — which ended up being fine. Smith didn't give the crowd time to wonder (or wander) between songs and offered little chit-chat. Instead he piled hit upon hit, reminding Dallas of the Cure's massive body of work.
Smith's ghostly figure loomed large in stillness for the first leg of the show. On "A Night Like This," his goth sway lurched left to right before he spun a dancing web for Spider-Man halfway through the evening on "Lullaby."
The Dallas crowd was oddly patient with the Cure's four-encore indolence, too. That's usually the type of excuse Dallas will use to get out of the house ahead of traffic. But ticket holders stared the band down and demanded "Boys Don't Cry" before retreating from whence they came.
When it came, "Boys Don't Cry" was probably the closest thing to a letdown on the setlist. Imagine how many Texans sauntered into the arena anticipating only that track, and then imagine how much of a beating it must be to be defined by it for more than 35 years. You'll excuse Smith and the rest of the band if the other 31 songs on the setlist required most of the wind from their collective sails.
A subdued tempo led to subdued enthusiasm on "Boys Don't Cry," one of what has to be a very short list of grievances. What could have put The Cure's set over the proverbial top instead registered a shrug and a 'meh' on the way out the door. But let's not quibble. Dallas got its Cure.
Pictures of You
A Night Like This
Sleep When I'm Dead
Just Like Heaven
From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea
Us or Them
The Hungry Ghost
Prayers For Rain
In Between Days
Hot Hot Hot
Close to Me
Let's Go To Bed
Why Can't I Be You
Step Into the Light
Shake Dog Shake
Boys Don't Cry