Words On Words

Published in The Miami Herald on May 20th, 2000



There was nothing depressing about The Cure concert at West Palm Beach's Mars Amphitheater. Sure, most of the crowd wore black, but they happily danced, swayed and sang along as Robert Smith, the band's guiding force, led his crew through an ethereal but musically solid set.

Though his onstage patter was limited to thank-yous and song titles, Smith mirrored the audience's upbeat mood despite The Cure's traditional downbeat lyrics. The rest of the band was in high form, too. The current lineup, together for the last quarter of The Cure's 20-year existence, was almost telepathically tight. Drummer Jason Cooper established a groove that the rest of the band filled admirably. Bassist Simon Gallup was rhythmic and melodic. Perry Bamonte played the majority of guitar solos, but doubled some parts with Smith, who often took the lead when his vocal responsibilities allowed. And Roger O'Donnell stuck mostly to the keyboards, but strapped on his six-string guitar a few times during the evening.

Despite all that, this was clearly Smith's show. Solos were strictly in service to the songs, and not opportunities for individual expression. But the audience would hardly have wanted it any other way.

The Cure opened with Out Of This World from their latest CD, Bloodflowers, which provided most of the material for Saturday's concert. The show may have been the band's last South Florida appearance, as Smith is billing this tour as The Cure's farewell trip. But he's reported to have said the same thing several times before. If this time it's true, the band is going out on a high note. Reviewers have hailed Bloodflowers as The Cure's best recorded work, and their live presentation, if Saturday's sold-out gig was any indication, has reached a genuine and very positive peak.