Girls go wild for unlikely teen idol Robert Smith as Vancouver gets the Cure

chris cameron photo

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 17, 1987

By Steve Newton

Robert Smith, leader of the British pop group the Cure, is not your typical teen idol. You couldn’t call him cute–in fact his pale, disheveled demeanor makes him look like he spent the last night up a tree.

But that didn’t stop a steady stream of youthful female fans from making beeliners towards him at Expo Theatre last Thursday (July 9). Maybe Smith is what you could call “the thinking teen’s pin-up”, because the attraction to his band seems more imbedded in his provocative lyrics than in how sexy he is when he smiles.

He’s no Bon Jovi, that’s for sure.

Smith’s band had been in town for five days previous to Thursday’s show, rehearsing for their North American tour, so the half-hour delay in getting the show started seemed a little unreasonable. When the band finally did stride out, the hyped-up sellout crowd of 4,000 surged forward, before Smith had even uttered a word. The band headed into “The Kiss”, the opening song off their new double album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, from which most of the night’s songs were culled. The bright red lips from the LP cover were projected behind the stage, purple rays of light shone down on the five musicians, and the first billows of a steady stream of fog rolled out.

These were introductory effects to what would prove a very effective light show. And the acoustics were good–as they usually are at Expo Theatre–with the band’s highly danceable melodies driven along by Boris Williams’ immense drum sound.

Smith’s vocals were as anguished as ever, and the more he moaned, the more the crowd got riled up. By the time he got to their hit single of 1985, the jangley “In Between Days”, the first fan had stepped up on stage. At first the roadies just turned the offenders back towards the crowd, but when one young girl faked retreat and ran back to kiss a second member of the band, they had to try more physical measures. By the end of the night they were dragging people off left and right–still with considerable care, mind you, unlike some Coliseum shows where security can get quite brutal.

For the encore, the Cure played no less than seven tunes, ending with “Boys Don’t Cry” (which got the loudest response of the night), and their latest single, “Why Can’t I Be You?” During these two songs about 20 more fans did the kamikaze routine on poor Smith, who by this time must have felt like an over-handled teddy bear. When the band left the stage for good it had been roughly two hours since they started out, and they had delivered a solid, enjoyable show during that time.

It’s hard to imagine how good they’ll be by the end of the tour!

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