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6/14/2000  Toronto Star (6-12-00 Toronto, Canada Show Review)
The Cure's passing will hurt

If Robert Smith is serious about The Cure's recent Bloodflowers album and concurrent Dream tour being its swansong, he's giving the band an appropriately funereal send-off.

The chilly gloom that hung over Sunday night's performance by Don Henley at the Molson Amphitheatre would have been better employed as a backdrop for the nearly three-hour set through which Smith led the latest, perhaps final, incarnation of his increasingly long-in-the-tooth Goth-rock ensemble last night.

Despite a slightly draggy start, the band's unrelentingly sombre set was a powerful indicator of just how much it will be missed if, indeed, this is the last voyage into darkness Smith sees fit to mount.

Keeping the self-conscious (and self-deprecating) pop smarts of latter-day Cure albums to a minimum and instead concentrating on the dense, deliberate and luxuriantly despondent epics with which the nearly 25-year-old band is most closely identified, The Cure threw out an unfailingly absorbing wall of sound that compelled the 15,000-strong crowd of aging, but still fashion-conscious mopers (that's not a slight: The Cure got me through high school) to hold out for three encores.

Fittingly, apart from sinister early-set stabs at ``Fascination Street'' and the musty ``Shake, Dog, Shake,'' the band waited until after sunset to rouse itself from a program of elegiac misery and rip into the more . . . well, aggressively miserable reaches of its songbook.

A run at the deceptively sunny ``In Between Days'' gave way to churning darkness in ``Prayers For Rain,'' and plunged vigorously into abject hopelessness with a stunning, assaultively hopeless reading of Pornography's ``One Hundred Years.''

The title track from Bloodflowers followed, swollen to an appropriate, whorling majesty that nicely set up the encore - a grim tour through the new album's lineage that peaked with an exhaustingly intense version of ``Disintegration'' and the title track from Faith, before letting a little light in with a sampling of poppier Cure outings like ``Lovesong'' and the gorgeous ``Just Like Heaven.''

Smith and the band maintained the fervour by closing with the haunting classic, ``A Forest.'' They could have played for another three hours.

It's a mark of how much The Cure's passing - if it happens - will be mourned that so many people can get so worked up over feeling down.

- Ben Rayner

 

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