The band filled their two-hour set with the hits, 26 of them to be exact, including “Pictures Of You,” “Lovesong,” “Fascination Street” and the set-closing “Boys Don’t Cry.”
Yes, the band has a lightshow, but it’s minimal and anything but showy. They just rely on the strength of their songs, which even after more than 20 years still strike a chord with their audience.
Smith has always had a way with words. A way of making you feel like he just gets it, whether he’s professing his adoration on “Friday I’m In Love” or singing about the one who got away on “Just Like Heaven.” Smith has always been able to meld his sad lyrics with a happy-go-lucky beat that often confuses people into thinking The Cure are a lot more optimistic than they really are. He does it so well, in fact, that “Pictures Of You” is more than a few couple’s wedding song.
The English goth-rockers are more than happy to play their hits, not looking to add much else to their stellar discography. They’re the rare band that would rather not overstay their welcome or capitalize too much on the nostalgia factor. The Cure is just good at what they do. That doesn’t make them especially interesting, but as a fan, you can’t help but appreciate them for being one of the few acts who aren’t trying to compete with their past. – Shannon Carlin
SCREW PERRY’S TENT, PHOENIX THREW *THE* DANCE PARTY OF LOLLA
From the looks of migration patterns, many had the same idea as this reporter: Watch Robert Smith feeeeel before shimmying across Grant Park to catch Phoenix’s dance party. In the past, Sunday’s headliner has been thought to be the top dog amongst the Lollapalooza headliners; that honor was, in theory, meant for to The Cure. Phoenix, though a relative newcomer in the American festival headlining game, put up the fight of their lives, and they didn’t even need R. Kelly or Daft Punk to do it. Certainly Kellz would have gotten the hometown crowd going, but he just played Pitchfork two weeks ago and it’s a Sunday, he was probably watching True Blood or something. (Or, as the Phoenix guys told Radio.com earlier in the day, they don’t like to repeat their stunts.)
“Usually on Sunday nights people are really tired,” frontman Thomas Mars said, seemingly dumbfounded at the crowd rowdiness. “But not you… Chicago, you are different.”
Even old songs — ie, pre-Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix songs — elicited spirited reactions; knowing the songs was secondary — it was time to dance. Basking in blue and pink strobes, fans were as entranced by “Rome” as they were “1901,” “Lisztomania” and “Entertainment.” The Postal Service could stand to learn a few things about what it means to headline a festival as an electropop act and still rock out quite hard. (Oh, well, nevermind now.)
The set kept building and building until it actually exploded. Mars ran through the audience all the way past the sound tent, but his method for getting back was to crowdsurf. Standard enough, until it became clear that to Mars, crowdsurfing meant to tumble across fans instead of being carried by them. In a mesmerizing feat, Mars rolled and rolled until he reached the front, his face and unmentionables likely being smushed repeatedly. The 30-something frontman emerged from the pit victorious, having connected with the crowd in more ways than one. – Jillian Mapes