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11/1/1985  New York Newspaper (11-1-85 Radio City, New York Show Review)
The Cure: Radio City Music Hall, New York

Robert Smith and his band may not be able to crack the top 40, but they did manage to sell out Radio City on Nov. 1. The English quintet put on a two-hour show that was ecstatically received by the crowd, an assortment of cultish and trendy new music types. Devoted and attentive, the audience cheered the band through a long set and several encores taken from their considerable catalog and their current Elektra album, "The Head On The Door."

Songwriter/vocalist Smith has one of the most distinctive styles in English pop, a whining, moody, often vulnerable sound that may in fact be too grating for widespread American radio play. On stage, he was subdued most of the time, huddling with his microphone and sometimes pacing or moving his arms in swanlike waves.

The passion and anxiety of the material was for the most part carried in Smith's voice, which was impressive in its strength and agility. He was able to deliver in concert what is so haunting on vinyl, covering the full range of material, from uptempo to dirge.

Aided by an especially adept had at the sound board and simple but well-designed lighting, Smith had the rest of the band to provide the bed for his vocals. Bassist Simon Gallup and drummer Boris Williams comprised the solid rhythm section, though they did tend to rush through some of their better-known songs, especially "Let's Go To Bed." Keyboardist Laurence Tolhurst, who switched to extra percussion during a few songs, was helped by keyboardist/guitarist Porl Thompson. Smith also played both acoustic and electric guitar, filling out the very full sound.

Unlike such other English dance bands as Depeche Mode and OMD, the Cure hardly relies on pre-programmed synthesizer lines. The band was almost totally absorbed in creating the music on stage, and seemed to have little time for choreography.

While this isn't a groundbreaking tour for the group, the Cure is quietly plugging away at cementing and augmenting their base of fans. Though there was no opening act, their show was well placed and long enough to satisfy the crowd. One hopes this fan support is sufficient to allow the band to carry on as it has now for almost 10 years.

- Kathy Gillis

 

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