In 1976, there was a little rock band out of West Sussex, England, that would come to be known as The Cure and lead  a whole generation of new bands into the post-punk, new wave era of music.  Their angst fueled music was a big part of the early ’80s gothic scene before taking a turn toward pop, becoming one of the first alternative rock bands to achieve mainstream commercial success.   Fast forward to 2016 and The Cure is  in the midst of their first major North American tour since 2008, making a stop this past Thursday in Charlotte at the PNC Music Pavilion.

   Although the lineup of the band has changed over the years,  frontman and original member Robert Smith has been the constant creative force serving as lead vocalist, guitarist, and principal songwriter.   Joining him for the tour are long term members bassist Simon Gallup and drummer Jason Cooper along with keyboardist Roger O’Donnell and guitarist Reeves Gabrels who have been on board since 2011 and 2012 respectively.  A few minutes after 8pm,  drummer Jason Cooper appeared and took his spot behind his massive kit and the rest of the band followed onto the stage.  As Smith walked to the center mic,  the audience absolutely erupted in cheers and applause as the band began with “Pictures of You” from their 1989 album “Disintegration.”  This was my first time seeing The Cure live in concert so I didn’t have any real expectations going in.  What began to transpire over the course of the sweltering hot Carolina evening was an epic night of passionate music as The Cure treated fans to a one of a kind setlist featuring not only their top hits but rarely played live tracks, B-sides, two new songs, and not one, not two or three but four encores!  Huge video screens at the rear of the stage changed scenes during the course of the night in unison with a terrific light show.  Musically the band was super tight showing no signs of wear even as the show approached the three hour mark and Smith’s vocals sound better than ever.  There wasn’t a lot of activity on stage as they simply let the emotions of the music carry the night.  The exception to this was bassist Simon Gallup who was looking cool in his rockabilly type haircut and outfit as he interplayed with Smith and made his way back and forth across the stage.  The Cure would play a total of 33 songs that night and the highlights of the show were too many to mention them all. 

  A personal standout for me was “Lovesong” which was probably the first song by The Cure that I ever heard.  It wasn’t until the first encore as the band played a new song “It Can Never Be the Same” that I realized those were the very words emblazoned on Smith’s guitar from the start of the show.  A surprise inclusion and one I was very glad to hear was “Burn” from “The Crow” soundtrack.  After an intense evening packed full of just about every emotion one can feel, The Cure came out for their fourth and final encore which included “Hot, Hot, Hot!!!” and what has been their show closer all tour “Boys Don’t Cry.”

 This was my first time seeing The Cure but I certainly hope it won’t be my last.  Their energy was palpable and their emotions raw as they poured their hearts and souls into each and every song, making it an absolutely unforgettable night of outstanding music.

Set List:

Pictures of You


The End of the World


Mint Car

Just Like Heaven


The Caterpillar

The Walk

Let’s Go to Bed

Sleep When I’m Dead

In Between Days

Doing the Unstuck

Friday I’m In Love



Fascination Street

The Hanging Garden

A Forest



It Can Never Be The Same



Encore 2:

A Letter To Elise

Charlotte Sometimes



Encore 3:

Step Into the Light

Never Enough


Wrong Number


Encore 4:

The Lovecats

Hot,Hot, Hot!!!

Close To Me

Why Can’t I Be You?

Boys Don’t Cry



Photo Gallery


We would like to thank Kim Shiver from Livenation for allowing BackstageAxxess to review the show.

About The Author Kris Engelhart

I am a small business owner, freelance writer, and part-time piano instructor in Charlotte, NC. My musical career started at the age of five when I was forced into taking piano lessons. I played flute in the school band and added the guitar as a young teen. There is nothing I would rather do than be at a live show. My first concert was Shaun Cassidy at the Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo in 1978.
My top five live shows ever are:

1. Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band – Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, NY 1984- They played for 3 ½ hours and it was awesome.

2. Carolina Rebellion- Metrolina Expo Grounds, Charlotte, NC, May, 2011 – The first ever Carolina Rebellion featured over 15 bands with Avenged Sevenfold headlining. Non-stop music for over 12 hours.
3. Chevelle- Food Lion Speed Street, Charlotte, NC, May, 2008 – The first time I ever saw Chevelle live and I was hooked!
4. Skillet with Red- Bojangle’s Coliseum, Charlotte, NC, April, 2010 – Skillet is one of my favorite bands and they totally kick it live.
5. 106.5 The End’s Weenie Roast #9- Verizon Wireless Amiptheater, Charlotte, NC , October, 2003- Featured Staind, Shinedown, Three Days Grace.