The Cure Riot Stage, Downsview Park, Toronto ON, September 6

The Cure Riot Stage, Downsview Park, Toronto ON, September 6
Photo: Stephen McGill
The Cure's closing set at Riot Fest's first day started shakily. Robert Smith's voice sounded as good as ever, but the band was mixed so low that it was quiet, as though the band were playing from a great distance (from where I was standing, they weren't). The band played mainly from their 1980s catalogue — their undisputed golden era — and kicked off with "Shake Dog Shake" and "Fascination Street."

With the tinny sound, the band's songs started to sound the same after a while, despite the varied nature of their recorded catalog, and long instrumental passages made for stretches that lacked energy and dynamism. But as the band got deeper into their set, the sound issues were righted and they began to take off. Tracks like "Hot Hot Hot!!!," "The Walk" and "In Between Days" were crowd favourites.

The band got more into the show as it progressed, too, as Smith, who hardly spoke a word of banter or thanks, practiced some charmingly half-hearted dance moves during "Lullaby."

Their set, which was as long as a regular show, delved deep into the band's catalog, but the stretches between barnstormers like "Friday I'm in Love" and "Close to Me" found the majority of the crowd standing still. That's not necessarily a criticism, either; at this point in the band's career, they have a deep catalogue to pull from, and long-time fans who want to hear it. This show was for those hardcore devotees.

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