The Cure at the Pantages Theatre Last Night

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Andrew Youssef
The Cure
November 22, 2011
The Pantages Theatre

Click here to see more photos from the show

Forty-five songs, three classic albums spanning three-plus hours constituted one unforgettable night with the Cure. If you don't have tickets to the show tonight, you may wanna scalp some or book your flight now to see them in New York at the Beacon Theatre on November 25, 26 and 27.

Dubbed the "Reflections" tour, The Cure revisited their first three albums Three Imaginary Boys, Seventeen Seconds and Faith by playing them in their entirety with five minute breaks in between them to allow the audience to catch their collective breath.

Taking the stage as a trio, The Cure peeled off the subtle guitar harmonics for "10:15 Saturday Night" and immediately the whole floor of Cure devotees were on their feet, absorbing every note and lyric from their debut album Three Imaginary Boys. Released in 1979, the album featured Robert Smith's angular guitar stabs intermeshed with melodic bass leads and vivid lyrics that would continue to flourish over the years transforming into the distinctive Cure trademark sound.

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Andrew Youssef
Eschewing his usual Schecter custom guitar, Smith opted for the era appropriate guitar in the form of a Fender Jazzmaster for the reverb staccato notes of "Grinding Halt." Smith's voice was flawless throughout the evening and giving the songs like "Object" a greater sense of urgency. Jason Cooper's drumming was rock solid throughout the evening nailing the steady beat of "Fire In Cairo."

The Pantages sounded pristine as the overall volume was perfect, letting the crystalline guitar chords of "Three Imaginary Boys" ruminate straight to your brain. Smith had warned the audience that he messes up on "The Weedy Burton" but the woozy instrumental went off without a hitch.

Adding keyboardist extraordinaire Roger O'Donnell, the foursome tackled the sparse arrangements of Seventeen Seconds kicking things off with the piano driven instrumental "A Reflection." The crowd would go crazy again upon hearing the opening notes of "Play For Today" as O'Donnell's keyboards blended well with Gallup's echoing bass line.

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Andrew Youssef
Raking his guitar strings for a whirlwind of noise, Smith's guitars gave way to Gallup's distinctive bass line for "The Forest" as the stage lights pulsed with green flashes. The whole evening continued to be surreal as they closed out the album with its title track.

Laurence Tolhurst would join the other four members of the band for their recreation of the album Faith. Adding band members to each album was symbolic in nature as it denoted the growth of the band and how they added more layers to their overall sound. "Primary" sounded like a jet engine taking off as various flangers and phasers swirled amongst the guitars and bass.

"The Funeral Party" slowly swayed with a combination of music and lyrics that haunted the audience. Smith switched over to a baritone Fender Jaguar for the airy and sparse tones of "Faith."

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Andrew Youssef
Barely taking a few minutes rest before the first of three encores, the band soldiered on, re-visiting B-sides "World War" and "I'm Cold," which Smith said he felt they were equally as good as the A-sides.

Middle Eastern sounding guitars signaled "Killing An Arab" followed by "Jumping Someone Else's Train," which makes me want to quit playing guitar and pick up a bass to hammer out the venerable bass line. The second encore featured the sludgy instrumental "Descent" and "Splintered In Her Head" which found Smith showing off his harmonica skills. 

Gallup was still jumping up and down while playing "Charlotte Sometimes" and Smith was all smiles, leading me to believe The Cure could have continued to play for another three hours. The final encore of "Let's Go To Bed," "The Walk" and "The Lovecats" capped the magnificent evening and let the audience give the band a standing ovation for one of the best concerts of the year.

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