Boys Don’t Cry. But I sure did Saturday night in the presence of The Cure at Austin City Limits.
The crowd gathered around the Honda stage before eight made up for what they lacked in goths in people over 40. But they were gentle and kind, eager to befriend everyone around them. Many had grown up a part of a goth or punk scene, others had discovered The Cure later in life. Some had come from other countries to see their favorite band live.
With a career spanning over 40 years, the British fathers of goth no longer need to tour extensively or put out new material. They have solidified themselves as a defining act in everyone’s eyes. This, especially as they age, has resulted in significantly less shows, making each one 1,000 times more meaningful to fans.
The parents and business people and professionals I met minutes earlier shed off decades during the set. Although not exactly the type of rock you mosh too, many leapt and spun around in tune with their favorites songs. The love, loneliness, and allure of The Cure unifies generations. It dawned me that the tingle down my spine and longing in my soul I felt during “A Night Like This” was not unique at all.
As if to confirm my prior thoughts, the crowd melted during the first notes of “Lovesong,” pressing ever closer to the stage and source of the song. Robert Smith was magnetic as usual. Even after all these years, he continues to tease his jet black hair and apply the signature khol eyeliner and red lipstick before every show. The rest of the band follows suit, dressed as the most classily-aged goths of the century.
As the hype begins to subsider, a lot of the crowd’s movement is replaced by sways and lighter dancing. This all picks back up during “Just Like Heaven.” The set is simple, needing nothing more than cool lighting and megascreens for those in the back to convey the mood of the music. The joy produced by the songs is snuffed out instantly by the lyrically somber “Disintegration” without as much as the flick of a switch. No pyro or effects are needed to tell the audience how to feel. The emotions are naturally invoked.
The band leaves the stage after the titular track of their eighth studio album concludes, but return soon after for an encore. They proceed to play for another 30 minutes, not holding back any punches with hits like “Lullaby” and “Friday I’m In Love.”
The performance concludes with a larger-than-life rendition of “Boys Don’t Cry.” The band thanks the audience graciously, then walks off to prepare for their next show in Mexico. Many fans stand in awe, slowly turning to each other to smile in silent understanding of what they’d just witnessed.
The Cure is one of the most influential bands in rock, and a must-see for any music lover. If you didn’t catch them, buy tickets to Weekend 2 today!