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8/22/1996  Dallas Morning News (8-21-96 Dallas, Texas Show Review)
Low-Grade Fever
The Cure: Dallas, Texas

Wednesday night at a half-full Reunion Arena offered a pre-Nirvana band for these post-Nirvana times. In a year of nostalgia tours, the Cure are back on the road, and the show seemed all set to be a sort of musical high-school reunion for aging fans pining for those good-gone times when the Cure ruled, which is to say the better part of the 80ís.

And who knows, maybe that was the case. But that would mean the mostly teenage crowd that turned out for the Cure was nostalgic for the simpler days when their age was a single digit and their biggest problem was that their parents wouldnít let them watch The A-Team. As it turns out, some things donít ever change. And one of those things is that leader Robert Smith is still the poet laureate of adolescent suffering. So rather than having an audience it grows old with, the Cure plays to new generations of the same age group, each discovering for itself Mr. Smithís dead-bang evocations of young loveís ecstatic torments.

There was no opening act - an arrangement that seemed designed to heighten the "evening with the Cure" scale and significance of the even. The stage was decked as a broken-down carnival. Song after song, bank upon bank of spotlights would drench the stage in choreographed light while the back screen brimmed with kaleidoscopic imagery. There was a cool aquarium effect that had everything glowing blue, green and purple while spotlighted seahorses and angelfish swam across walls. There were the cool Japanese lanterns that would descend now and again in luminous, pretty colors.

The staging, in other words, did all sort of (as I said) cool tricks. The band, on the other hand, just stood there. In this regard, the Cure could have taken a few notes from another nostalgia act on the road - Kiss, a band that was doing everything but riding unicycles to pun up its spectacle. But no, none of that for Mr. Smith. "Iím sorry Iím not talking much," Mr. Smith said about 30 minutes into the show. "I will later on. Right now Iím still trying to get engrossed." Judging from the field of statues in Reunion Arena floor resembled, the feeling was mutual.

And so, like the guys on stage, most of the audience just stood there - actually, since they had chairs, a lot of people just sat there. True, whenever the band would chime forth with one of its upbeat pop tunes - Just Like Heaven, say or Friday Iím In Love - the aisles would be crowded with appreciative dancers. But the moments never lasted for more than the length of the song, so the heat never burned up enough to move in from the fringes to warm up the sullen center.

- Tom Maurstad


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