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“The Watchers” is a film adaptation of the 2022 book of the same name by A.M. Shine.
Review: “The Watchers”
Published June 13, 2024

The Cure previews new music, performs classics at Xcel

The band brought the other-worldly nature of their studio recordings to life with a nearly three-hour performance in St. Paul.
Image by Photo by Ethan Lambert
Robert Smith performing with The Cure on June 8th, 2023 at Xcel Energy Center.

With a high percentage of concert attendees wearing all black, The Cure –– goth-rock icons –– brought out loyal fans of all ages to Xcel Energy Center on June 8th.

The band’s “Shows of a Lost World” North American arena tour was incredibly unique before the tour even started because of the ticket-buying experience.

In contrast to other legacy rock acts like Bruce Springsteen, The Cure shared a statement while announcing their 2023 North American tour promising there would be no “dynamically priced” or “platinum” tickets sold

With the cheapest tickets in the arena costing just $25 and tickets on the floor close to the stage around $150, it was refreshing to see a band of their status so dedicated to making tickets to their concerts affordable while at the same time putting on a well produced live show.

The legendary group opened the show with “Alone,” an unreleased song, presumably from one of the two albums the band has in the works that frontman Robert Smith has been teasing for years.

The Cure have not released a studio album since 2008’s “4:13 Dream.” 

With a 15-year wait (and counting), the band is finally giving eager fans a taste of new music. The excellently arranged post-punk track “Alone” made for an atmospheric opener to the set and a good harbinger of what’s to come with a potential new album. The hazy keyboard chords and booming bassline in this new song set the tone for their nearly three-hour set.

After giving their fans a taste of new material, The Cure moved on to “Pictures of You” for the second song of their set. A fan favorite from their seminal 1989 album “Disintegration,” the band brought the reverb-heavy guitar parts, the groovy bass line and the occasional washy synth to life for a captivating live performance. The show was off to a great start.

Spoiling their audience, the band placed “Lovesong” third in the carefully curated setlist, another classic track off of “Disintegration.” The single nearly reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 upon its release, making it the band’s most successful song in the US. The audience at Xcel’s excitement for it was palpable. The melancholic track was masterfully brought to life through Smith’s vocals sounding strikingly similar to the studio recording from over 30 years ago, proving his staying power as a live vocalist.

Smith and co. went on to perform songs appearing across their classic era of albums, like “A Forest” from their 1980 studio album “Seventeen Seconds,” “A Thousand Hours” off of their 1987 LP “Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me,” “A Night Like This” from the critically acclaimed 1985 release “The Head on the Door,” along with even more new material that has yet to be released.

The band has also treated their fans to a variety of deep cuts on their 2023 tour. In St. Paul, the group performed “39,” a track from their underrated 2000 album, “Bloodflowers.” With a fiery backdrop on the screen behind them, it proved to be both a visual and a musical highlight of the night. The backdrop was visually striking in person. It showed the band does not need pyrotechnics or fireworks to have a visually exciting stage set-up.

Potentially the strongest portion of The Cure’s St. Paul performance was the first encore, where the band showcased even more highlights from the fan-favorite album, “Disintegration.” The album’s opening track “Plainsong” proved to be another example of the band bringing the genius production of their 1989 album to an arena setting, with the iconic synth intro providing a chilling high point in their set. 

The second encore had even more of the band’s most iconic tracks, with fans singing along to every word in songs like “Friday I’m in Love” and “Boys Don’t Cry.” 

With a 29-song setlist of their mainstream classics, deep cuts and unreleased material, The Cure’s performance at Xcel was a spectacle for casual and die-hard fans of the band alike.

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