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8/11/1987  New York Post (8-10-87 Madison Square Garden New York, New York Show Review)
The Cure Keeps Its Promise

The political controversy surrounding The Cure's 1979 single, "Killing An Arab," was forgotten at the British band's sell-out performance last night at Madison Square Garden.

Thousands of enthusiastic young fans head the sextet play an engaging two-hour set, drawing mostly from the current chart album, "Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me," which has just hit gold sales status.

Over the past few years, the eccentric and unpredictable art-dance band has blossomed from obscure cultdom to major stardom. One of the pioneers of British new wave, The Cure onstage still embraces that era's spareness and modesty, so they avoid instrumental solos and any hint of rock idol pomposity.

Robert Smith, The Cure's charmingly waiflike singer and main creative force, ran the show with easy confidence, directing the tight ensemble through two dozen songs, including such popular repertoire numbers as "Let's Go To Bed," "Close To Me," "Inbetween Days," and "The Walk".

But many hits were passed over in favor of 14 new songs from the new album. In fact, the set began with that record's lead-off track, "The Kiss." Throughout, Smith's unaffected vocals provided the band's most striking and attractive feature.

Although The Cure has gained most of its fans by playing melodic, quirky dance-rock, the band made a point of featuring many of its less accessible tunes, including such dirgey pieces as "The Snakepit." The audience responded best to the songs they knew from MTV, but didn't object to the more esoteric selections.

Unlike other video-generation pop bands, The Cure's stage presence isn't especially colorful or cartoonish. The Britons dressed conservatively, moved very little, and dispensed with theatrics of any sort. The powerful personality that galvanized the arena was entirely due to the music. Without compromise or pandering, The Cure proved that it's possible to expand its following without losing the love of the faithful.

- Ira Robbins

 

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