“Plainsong”* by The Cure is the greatest opening song to any album. Ever. I’m not saying it’s the best song; I’m saying it’s the best first song for an album. It opens Disintegration, The Cure’s magnum opus, and it sets the entire tone for the rest of the masterwork. It was the song I wanted to hear more than any other song.
The night before they played one song from Disintegration. This would rectify that.
As soon as the lights dimmed and the wind chimes started, I asked my sister to start filming and to continue for the entire song. After a technical false start, the song exploded with beauty. Robert Smith came out a little later than everyone else. He then started playing his six string bass and I turned back into that teenage kid who was listening to the album for the first time. It reminds me why I go to concerts. Those moments when “Plainsong” filled the arena transported me to another time and place. The fact that I know I wasn’t the only person there that felt that way makes concerts great to me. Most of us that know “Plainsong” listened to The Cure more often than not alone. We listened to The Cure because we didn’t feel we fit in. But in those moments in a concert, you know you are not alone. And that you never were.
They followed “Plainsong” with the next two songs from Disintegration. I was thinking they might play the entire album, which would have been fine by me. They didn’t. In a perfect world, “A Night Like This” would be a song everyone knows. It’s a great single that the first time I heard it I swore I heard it before. I mean that in the best possible way. “Doing the Unstuck” is always great to hear live because it is one of their “happy” songs, and it gave me hope that we would hear “Friday I’m in Love.” “Last Dance” was an unexpected treat, but then got me excited that we would hear the entire album. They had played “Lovesong” already, which meant they were playing songs from the album in order.
Before they returned to Lullaby, they played a B-side to the “High” single. “This Twilight Garden” made its live debut this night. This makes four songs I’ve heard the Cure play for the first time while I’m in attendance. This song was a real treat because this was the only CD single I ever bought. It’s a beautiful song and as good as anything that made the cut for Wish (which is high praise indeed). I still remembered every word.
They then closed out first side of Disintegration. Because “Fascination Street” has a tie in to New Orleans, it seems that it should always be played at a New Orleans show. “Hot Hot Hot!!!” showed the funkier side of The Cure. Then another surprise came with the playing of Screw from the Head on the Door. Like “All I Want,” it had not been played since it came out.
The show ended with “Prayers for Rain” and “Disintegration.” On the album, these songs are separated by “The Same Deep Water as You.” This was the first time they veered off the track list for Disintegration. The title track was on my wish list for the show and it didn’t disappoint. A sprawling epic that demonstrates how great of a lyricist Smith is the song was a perfect ending to a set. The first encore was just one song, but it was a ten minute song. They went back and played “The Same Deep Water as You.” I consider this song the most romantic in their catalog. The relationship in this song might not last, but damn the narrator feels it all.
The second encore featured songs from the Faith era. “Charlotte Sometimes” was another song that I wanted to hear live. The third encore featured one of the new songs plus that full out rockers “Never Enough” and “Wrong Number.” I’ve always loved the first song and been indifferent to the latter. The fourth encore featured “Burn” and the new song “It Can Never Be the Same.” They came out a fifth time and performed “Boys Don’t Cry” much to the fan’s delight.
There were more recognizable songs on this night than the night before, but it was still full of deep cuts. I was disappointed they didn’t play “Homesick” and “Untitled” and complete the Disintegration. And while we got “Boys Don’t Cry,” there was still no “Friday I’m in Love.” These are as minor of complaints as I can summon. This was a great show and practically completely different from the night before. The band was very tight and Smith’s voice is as strong as it has ever been. It was rough seeing them two nights during a work week, but my exhaustion was rewarded with some beautiful music. The venue was a perfect size for The Cure. My only regret is I didn’t buy tickets for the Saturday show in Houston.
However, Smith did say at the end of the second show that he might see us again. If they tour and come to New Orleans again, I will be there.
*song links take you to spotify…tried to not repeat the same links from the day before.