Saturday, July 5, 2008

Curiosa Atlanta Review

Of the three Curiosa concerts I've attended so far (Tampa, Nashville, Atlanta), Atlanta was by far the best, both for setlist variety and quality and for the actual performance.
The Atlanta setlist was almost identical to Tampa's up until the encores. The only differences were that instead of playing Lullaby and Taking Off, The Cure played alt.end and possibly another song. I cannot be sure of the order of the setlist.
All the songs sounded just as powerful as the previous nights, with the exception of Before 3. Robert really needs to work on getting the lyrics right to some of the new songs. I'm not sure if it's purposeful, but in some cases it seems sloppy. I like when he improvises lyrics sometimes, but when he changes huge sections of songs, it can be a bit annoying, and reflect laziness on his part. Before 3 was probably the weakest of the new songs. Alt.end, however, was nice - I really like the punky energy of this song.
The Promise is what stole the night for me. I hear echoes of Mogwai all over the place in this song. The emotions that this song evokes live are an inexplicable tangle of rage, desperation, and sadness. It is a huge slab of sound that rips and pounds itself into you. Robert's screaming really complements this song well, adding to the layers of feeling. And Jason's drumming is never more pronounced than in this song; it's truly modeled for his frenzied hard rock style.
Perry is sounding really excellent these days. I am not sure if he's been practicing a lot or is simply more relaxed, but his guitar parts sound sharp and punchy. The exception, again, is Before 3. The guitar on the album sounds crunchier, fuller, and more Hendrix-like, but in concert it sounded a bit thin, almost nu-metal.
Simon was in top "punk" form, with a severe expression, simply pounding away at his bass and bouncing around angrily. Roger was a bit more subdued than he was in Nashville (where he played with the audience a bit, throwing out silly faces and smiles), but he did get carried away during Never and almost knocked over his keyboard. It was quite humorous!
Robert seemed bent on winning over the Atlanta audience, so during the first encore he turned up the boyish charm to amazing effect. During both Close to Me and Why Can't I Be You, he danced around goofily with the microphone and walked close to  the audience, tossing out smiles and sexy poses. The women were absolutely swooning, and Robert seemed to revel in it. A couple of young girls next to me were delirious with joy, saying things like, "He is so cute I can't stand it." Robert also added in a lot of vocal and lyrical embellishments to these and other songs that made the crowd wild with adoration.
Robert also seemed to be in a chatty mood during much of the concert and seemed particularly pleased with the fact that they were "breaking" curfew and doing two encores instead of one. I think this may be de rigeur for the big city concerts.
During the second encore, however - which was explicity tailored for the die hard fan - the band relaxed back into serious and melancholy mode and delivered a gorgeous Charlotte Sometimes, a haunting Faith, and an unexpected and aching Going Nowhere.  Hearing these songs in sequence was a spiritual experience, and I do wish more of the shows would focus on these melodic moments.

ome people would not appreciate this, as they prefer to view The Cure as a band rather than solo act (and of course they are a band), but Atlanta's concert could have easily been dubbed The Robert Smith Show. All the shows I have seen have focused on him, but none so blatantly. It was entertaining, if mildly disconcerting for the band.
At the end of the show, Robert, beaming with smiles, said, "It was fucking excellent." I agree.

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