In 2017, Lady Gaga released a single titled “The Cure.” And it turns out she’s a mega-fan of the band by the same name. While attending the Cure’s Pasadena Daydream festival on Saturday, Aug. 31, in Los Angeles, Gaga excitedly posted two Instagram Stories of herself wildly dancing in the audience, saying the legendary post-punk band had made her “come alive.”
“I love the Cure, felt my old self come alive tonight, what a show,” Gaga breathlessly captioned one video of herself rocking out to the Cure’s 1990 Mixed Up banger “Never Enough”; a clip of her intensely grooving to the 1980 Seventeen Seconds epic “A Forest” was paired with the slogan “when music is magic.”
Lady Gaga going crazy while enjoying The Cure's performance at Pasadena, California, tonight. ✨pic.twitter.com/vWDbpOLrZZ— GAGA NOTIFY (@gaganotify) September 1, 2019
It’s understandable why Gaga and thousands of other fans were feeling so nostalgic, because Pasadena Daydream was a full-circle moment for both the Cure and one of the other template-setting, game-changing alternative rock bands on Saturday’s bill, the Pixies.
Some context here: In 1989, two full years before Nirvana’s Nevermind (and three years after Gaga was born), a sea change was already happening in alternative music. The Cure’s Disintegration went to No. 12 on the Billboard 200, and its single “Lovesong” got all the way to No. 2 on the Hot 100; meanwhile, the Pixies’ landmark album Doolittle yielded two college rock smashes, “Monkey Gone to Heaven” and “Here Comes Your Man.” And then, on Sept. 8, 1989, these two bands played Los Angeles’s Dodger Stadium, on the Cure’s Prayer Tour, to a crowd of 50,000 people.
And now, almost exactly 30 years later, the Cure were headlining another massive L.A. sports venue, Brookside Park at the Rose Bowl, for their Pasadena Daydream festival. Similar in spirit to the Cure’s 40th anniversary celebration at Hyde Park last year or their other multi-artist events like the 2018 Meltdown Festival in London or their 2004 Curiosa tour, the Pasadena Daydream event was expertly curated by Cure frontman and tastemaker Robert Smith — and it included the Pixies.
Ahead of Pasadena Daydream, Pixies guitarist Joey Santiago spoke to Yahoo Entertainment/SiriusXM Volume about the “mutual admiration” that the Cure and the Pixies have long shared. (He also chucklingly recalled that Dodger Stadium show, when the Pixies’ bassist at the time, Kim Deal, surveyed the black-clad crowd sweating in the L.A. sun and quipped, “What, is it Halloween?”) And that admiration was evident during the Cure’s Saturday set, when Smith crooned an a cappella line from the Pixies‘ “Where Is My Mind?” before segueing into an acoustic intro to his own band’s “Friday I’m in Love.”
Smith also recruited college rock icons Throwing Muses, alt-metal band Deftones, Scottish post-rockers Mogwai, Icelandic darkwave trio Kælan Mikla, Welsh dream-poppers the Joy Formidable, Goth-folk singer-songwriter Chelsea Wolfe, Scottish post-punk band the Twilight Sad, and ambient-folk artist Emma Ruth Rundle to play the event’s two stages, before the Cure took the main stage at 8:40 p.m. Deftones frontman Chino Moreno, another mutual admirer, gushed about the honor of getting to open for the Cure, telling the crowd, “You may be happy to be here, but trust me, I’m happier!”
The Cure’s nearly two-and-a-half-hour show was heavy on Disintegration hits, including “Plainsong,” “Pictures of You,” “Lovesong,” “Last Dance,” “Fascination Street,” and the album’s title track. But the setlist ranged from 1979’s “Boys Don’t Cry” up through “39” from 2000’s Bloodflowers, and the show marked the first time that 1982’s “Just One Kiss” had ever been played in America.
Smith’s remarkable, iconic wail sounded pristine and flawless throughout, even after a day of roasting in the very un-British Pasadena sunshine all afternoon as the temperature crept up into the high 90s. (While “Hot Hot Hot!!!” and “Fire in Cairo” were left off the setlist, “Burn” was indeed an appropriate choice.)
“It’s been the best day of the summer… f***ing excellent,” Smith declared sweetly at the end of the show, seeming almost teary-eyed and giving his longtime bandmate Simon Gallup a hug. Lady Gaga likely agreed with Smith’s assessment of the day.
The Cure have had a fantastic year. They were finally inducted (with a passionate speech by another admirer, Trent Reznor) into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; they headlined Glastonbury; they played Disintegration in its entirety at a live-streamed event in Sydney; they theatrically released the Tim Pope-directed concert film Anniversary 1978 – 2018: Live in Hyde Park London; they’re releasing the boxed set 40 Live - Curætion-25 + Anniversary (featuring the Hyde Park film as well last year’s Meltdown Festival performance); and, most excitingly, they’re working on their first studio album in more than a decade.
The Pixies, also still as relevant as ever, will be issuing their seventh album, Beneath the Eyrie, on Sept. 13. As for Lady Gaga… let’s hope her next studio album is Disintegration-inspired.
The Cure’s Pasadena Daydream setlist is below. One of the custom guitars Smith played at the festival is being auctioned off to benefit the youth charities Free Arts, Inner-City Arts, Little Kids Rock, Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, and the Painted Turtle. Fans looking to bid on the guitar can visit charitybuzz.com/RobertSmith. Perhaps Gaga will place a bid.
Pictures of You
A Night Like This
Just One Kiss
In Between Days
Just Like Heaven
From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea
Play for Today
Shake Dog Shake
Friday I'm in Love
Close to Me
Why Can't I Be You?
Boys Don't Cry
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