Reviews, Setlist — September 2, 2019 at 9:24 am

The Cure turns Pasadena Daydream into ‘the best day of the summer’ with scorching set

The Cure play Pasadena Daydream on Saturday. (Courtesy Pasadena Daydream & Goldenvoice)

Robert Smith waited until The Cure’s last song to render his own verdict on Pasadena Daydream, his hand-picked 10-band festival that took over the sprawling golf course next to the Rose Bowl under a scorching Southern California sun on Saturday.

“It’s been the best day of the summer,” Smith said, declaring the whole experience “fucking excellent.”

He wasn’t wrong, judging by the rapturous response from the more than 25,000 fans who took in the 9-hour festival, which also featured performances by Pixies, Throwing Muses, Deftones, Mogwai, The Joy Formidable and more. By the time The Cure played, the crowd stretched far enough back that the video screens on each side of the stage, let alone the band itself, were hard to see.

The Cure capped the festival with a scorching 2-hour-and-15-minute, 27-song headlining set that spanned much of its 40-year career. While it didn’t stray from the sets the band has been playing at European festivals this summer — there were no surprises — it did offer a cross-section of the band’s contrasting styles, from churning darkness to effervescent pop.

Highlights included a yearning “Last Dance,” the one-two Seventeen Seconds punch of “Play for Today” into “A Forest,” and incendiary rockers “Burn” and “Never Enough.” Plus, attendees were treated to the first-ever U.S. performance of “Let’s Go to Bed” B-side “Just One Kiss.” In fact, The Cure’s only misstep came toward the end of the main set, with a momentum-stalling airing of Bloodflowers’ sludgy “39.”

But it’s hard to overstate how tight the band’s current lineup is, with Reeves Gabrels — who came on board in 2012 — bringing both fireworks and a jack-of-all-trades versatility to his role as guitarist, playing alongside Smith himself and long-running bassist Simon Gallup, the band’s sonic anchor on so many of its best songs. Add to that Roger O’Donnell’s majestic keyboards — give that man a proper showcase, like “Homesick” — and powerhouse drummer Jason Cooper.

Belying his popular image, Smith appeared ebullient throughout the set, doing little dances, trading smiles with his bandmates and very clearly having a great time — something that wasn’t lost on the crowd.

The Cure was preceded on the main stage by the Pixies, which famously shared the bill with the headliners and Love and Rockets at select stadium dates on 1989’s Prayer Tour. (It’s worth noting, there were a lot of tattered Prayer Tour T-shirts in attendance Saturday.) Black Francis and Co. put on a roaring, crowd-pleasing set of vintage favorites (“Debaser,” “Where is My Mind?,” “Bone Machine,” “Gouge Away”) and newer songs, including tracks from the band’s upcoming seventh album Beneath the Eyrie. (Smith would later pay tribute to the Pixies, quoting “Where is My Mind?” to begin “Friday I’m in Love.”)

Between the Pixies’ and Cure’s sets, Throwing Muses headlined the smaller second stage, one of only a handful of performances by the college-rock mainstays this summer — the band’s first shows in five years. Kristin Hersh and her bandmates dazzled with a set both loose and fierce that drew heavily on the band’s University era, but included music newer and older.

The Muses deserved a bigger crowd, though. It was one of the few drawbacks, outside of the massively long entry lines outside the Rose Bowl, of the festival: there was no time buffer between the performances on the two stages, which were quite far apart. That meant — for example — fans needed to leave the Pixies’ set early to catch the beginning of Throwing Muses’ performance, and then had to leave that early, too, if they had any hope of hearing the opening chimes of “Plainsong.”

All told, though, Pasadena Daydream was, as Smith put it, “fucking excellent,” including outstanding early sets by Mogwai and The Joy Formidable, and a crowd-favorite appearance by Deftones, who, judging solely by the T-shirts dotting the crowd, drew the second-largest fanbase to the Rose Bowl’s golf course.

Below, check out more photos, the Cure’s setlist and full fan-shot video of the Cure’s performance.


WATCH: The Cure’s full Pasadena Daydream set


Setlist: The Cure, Pasadena Daydream Festival, Pasadena, CA, 8/31/19

1. “Plainsong”
2. “Pictures of You”
3. “High”
4. “A Night Like This”
5. “Just One Kiss”
6. “Lovesong”
7. “Last Dance”
8. “Burn”
9. “Fascination Street”
10. “Never Enough”
11. “Push”
12. “In Between Days”
13. “Just Like Heaven”
14. “From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea”
15. “Play For Today”
16. “A Forest”
17. “Primary”
18. “Shake Dog Shake”
19. “39”
20. “Disintegration”

21. “Lullaby”
22. “The Caterpillar”
23. “The Walk”
24. “Friday I’m in Love”
25. “Close to Me”
26. “Why Can’t I Be You?”
27. “Boys Don’t Cry”


The Cure play Pasadena Daydream on Saturday. (Courtesy Pasadena Daydream & Goldenvoice)


Throwing Muses play Pasadena Daydream on Saturday. (Courtesy Pasadena Daydream & Goldenvoice)


Pixies play Pasadena Daydream on Saturday. (Courtesy Pasadena Daydream & Goldenvoice)








  1. AGREED! Great set by The Cure, but the Muses deserved a bigger crowd. I get it: they’re not as well know and that festival ran a tight ship so folks had to pick which stage they wanted to be at. See the Muses or not be as close for The Cure.

    PIXIES were excellent as always, but The Cure is truly a formidable live act that you must see outdoors & at night.

    Glad I went, but I only cared about those 3 bands

  2. Wonderful evening! When absolutely everyone around me sang along word for word to FridayImInLove, it really was obvious how deep the love and loyalty this community felt for this band. And then double clapping the end of AForest: I was so moved. Many more years, much more music!

  3. I was people would stop pooping on “39”. That may be a fairly lacklustre album, but that and the title track are still great songs, and I’m happy to hear them actually play something interesting from the 1996-2012 era that they’ve basically abandoned live.

    • actually you could make a case that Bloodflowers was the last truly great Cure album, certainly from a “life milestones” perspective.

      Robert’s anxiety at turning 30 gave us Disintegration –
      Robert’s anxiety at turning 40 gave us Bloodflowers –
      Robert’s anxiety at turning 50 gave us …. an album with a couple of good songs anyway –

      judging by his stage demeanor these days he doesn’t seem quite so anxious about 60, but hope for the new album springs eternal –

  4. 39 is a great song shut yer mouth.

  5. I agree. Bloodflowers is the only solid album for the post 1993 group. I would have been happy to hear 39 (or any other songs from that record) in the setlist.

    • Totally agree… Even for me 39 (+ Watching Me Fall) are the weakest songs on the album (still high level though).
      But as always, the usual pop hit galore + media is happy. The whole festival series they have played this year has just been a massive cash grabbing event for the band with little innovation. Their setlists haven’t bee this stale in years. Not that anyone can blame them for it.

  6. 39 was a misstep and a momentum killer? They couldn’t be more wrong. It sounded amazing live and certainly didn’t bring the show down in any way. Kudos to Robert and the gang for putting together such a great festival. All the bands killed it. I was honored to be there.

  7. The decider on whether I’d cross the country from Ontario Canada was Throwing Muses. The zero time between sets and distance between stages caused me to have to walk away from the Pixies to get to the Muses and in turn missed the opening of the Cure so I could take in every second of Kristin. Def worth it but something to consider for the future. Though in my eyes she should’ve been on the big stage. That would’ve been a win, win. Fabulous line up and a great time.

  8. sabrina r hahnlein

    Hearing the Cure is always great.. the whole set up sucked .. what was sold as VIP turned out to be nothing more than a roped off area on the side. Definitely nothing VIP the except the cost of the tickets

  9. Black Sunshine

    The lack of organization in dealing with the long lines and the event staff’s lackadaisical attitude, especially at peak heat hours, almost ruined the evening.
    Many disappointed fans missed out on Mogwai, Chelsea Wolfe and Emma Rundle as a result.

  10. Seeing the Cure made it all worth it but the experience was very disorganized overall. They had ONE metal detector for all VIP guests, from what I gather this was over 10,000 people. And then they didn’t even put bags through the metal detectors, they opened them to the side and looked in. My friend and I inadvertently brought water and vodka in and they didn’t even notice them. Unfortunately the long lines continued throughout the event. I am sure they would have sold much more merch had the lines not been half a mile long. Vendors were selling out of food at 4 pm. It was as if the entire production seriously underestimated how many people were attending. Unfortunately none of our feedback matters, Goldenvoice will just wait the for the next event to suck music fans dry with minimal staffing and resources.

    Robert if you are listening, please have a nice indoor arena tour next year!!!!

  11. So many things went wrong at this venue. They did not have enough staff at the entrance, so they sent groups of people (including myself) who had been there since early morning to the back of other lines. In addition, when a physical fight broke out during one of the acts, security did not break up the fight. Moreover, a very aggressive group of people started a mosh pit (Deftones fans) and did not care about the fact that there were young children present. My group was forced to leave the area because it was very unsafe to stay. Fortunately, once The Cure came out all the chaos had died out and we got to enjoy the show. I just hope that next time there is a festival, this venue is better prepared for it. Safety of the attendees should always be a priority especially when the event is all ages.

    • The front of the stage is for music fans, not children. The Deftones are known for having a hardcore, passionate, excited fan base.

      There were plenty of spaces that kids could enjoy.

  12. J Bergstrom

    Jason Cooper is not and has never been a “powerhouse drummer”. He plays with more finesse if anything, and he is definitely has been the weakest link in the band since he joined.

  13. nice vocoder

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