photos and words by PSquared

The crowd went wild as Robert Smith, ageless in voice and spirit, launched into the 1-2-3 punch of "Plainsong," "Pictures of You," and "Closedown" off of 1989’s Disintegration. The Cure rolled into town Saturday night (6/18) for the first of three sold out shows at Madison Square Garden. Their first tour since 2008, the band’s lineup, consists of current mainstays Simon Gallup (bass), Jason Cooper (drums) and Roger O’Donell (keys)as well as longtime David Bowie collaborator guitarist Reeves Gabrels. Touring behind no new album, they are playing a long hits filled set rounded out by some rarely played tunes and two new songs slated for an upcoming new album.

While we didn’t get any newly unearthed rarities, as at some of the earlier shows, there were some nice additions to the classics. "The Perfect Girl" which had not been played in 26 years since this tour, was a welcome return. "Pornography," which had just been brought back in Montreal for the first time since 2002, was another highlight with Gabrels adding some serious guitar heft to that song’s thunderous dark dirge. As Disintegration is one of my all time favorite albums, I was fine with getting most of the songs from it last night although I was really hoping for "The Same Deep Water As You" which they are now playing again. As for the two new songs, I thought they sounded, well, very Cure-like. "Step into the Light" especially had a beautiful melody that could have easily placed it on any of the late '80s albums. Of course, all Cure fans have their favorites, but with a setlist like we got, it’s hard to quibble. And there were lots and lots of those huge Cure fans in attendance last night. I counted 10 Smith look-a-likes the minute I walked into the venue.

As for Robert Smith, he was in fine form last night. As stated above his voice has lost none of it’s power, and his guitar playing (always an underrated player) was a real standout. It’s also a treat to see him put down the guitar and do his trademark shuffle during "Close to Me." The rest of the band seemed to be having a great time, with Gallup especially all over the stage holding down that heavy bottom end. The projections and lights were grand and beautiful. Lots of fog as you can imagine. Sound was fine. Having seen them on many numerous tours, it’s hard to place but all in all it was a really fantastic show that you should try to catch on this tour if you can.

The Twilight Sad opened tonight, as they're doing for the whole tour. Two night left to go, with after-show parties and more. A full gallery of pictures from night 1 are above, and check out the setlist and a few Instagrams from the show below.

SETLIST: The Cure @ MSG 6/18/2016
Pictures of You
A Night Like This
In Between Days
Doing the Unstuck
Friday I'm in Love
Like Cockatoos
The Caterpillar
The Walk
Just Like Heaven
Jupiter Crash
The Hungry Ghost
Prayers for Rain

It Can Never Be the Same

Encore 2:
Step Into the Light
Us or Them

Encore 3:
Last Dance
Never Enough
Fascination Street

Encore 4:
The Perfect Girl
Hot Hot Hot!!!
Close to Me
Why Can't I Be You?
Boys Don't Cry