Oct. 10--It would seem El Paso has found The Cure.
Or maybe that's the other way around.
It's been 37 years since Robert Smith -- he of the teased raven's hair, smudged red lipstick and black eye makeup -- formed the gloomy, doomy British band; 34 since their first album came out; and 30 since the dancey "The Walk" accelerated a string of hit singles ("Just Like Heaven," "Lovesong," "Boys Don't Cry") and albums ("Pornography," "Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me") that made them the darlings of goth rock.
But the iconic British band has never played in El Paso before.
Fans from as far away as southern Mexico no doubt will be in love Thursday when the venerable group brings its "Group Circle
Tour" to UTEP's Don Haskins Center at 8 p.m.
More than 4,000 of the 7,000 ticket for the show were sold out within a couple of days of going on sale Aug. 30, a rarity for the El Paso area.
By Sept 9, promoters had begun selling restricted-view seating. More tickets could be released by the time the band hits the stage, according to Jorge Vazquez, director of UTEP's Special Events office.
"I think The Cure is one of those what you'd now call classic acts that everybody wants to see," Vazquez said.
"There are certain names ... that trigger that, 'Oh my God, this is going to be huge' kind of thing. This is definitely one of those."
It's not only a rare local appearance for the latest incarnation of the band -- which includes former David Bowie/Tin Machine guitarist Reeves Gabrels and longtime or returning members Roger O'Donnell (keyboards), Simon Gallup (bass) and Jason Cooper (drums).
It's a rare non-festival appearance for the band, which played only 19 dates in 2012. The El Paso show is one of a handful in the United States planned this for year, a one-off sandwiched between a Tuesday stop in Monterrey, Mexico, and an Oct. 12 performance at the Austin City Limits Festival. They're also playing Saturday at the Austin festival.
Their last announced date is Nov. 3 at the Voodoo Experience festival in New Orleans.
The "Great Circle" tour started in April in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, and continued in July with sets in South Korea, Japan and Hawaii. The Cure also headlined a Montreal festival Aug. 2 and Chicago's Lollapalooza on Aug. 4.
Vazquez said the Cure show has been in the works for about a year, when he first started talking to Austin's C3 Presents, which puts on the Austin City Limits Festival and is bringing the Cure here.
He had a feeling the show would be big, and not just because the band's music has been used frequently in movies and TV shows or because Adele covered "Lovesong" on her blockbuster "21" album.
"We work among students who are 18 to 25 years old, and all of them are super-excited to go," Vazquez said, noting that the band's longevity has given it "cross-generational" appeal.
"Their music, because of the generation in which they were introduced, was able to trickle down to the younger demos," he said. "The parents and older siblings were listening to that; now, the younger generation knows exactly who the Cure are."
That hasn't been lost on the band, which doesn't have a recording contract and hasn't released an album of new material since 2008's "4:13 Dream."
"It's been across the board spanning the Cure's 30-year history," guitarist Gabrels told the Berklee College of Music's alumni website last year, his first in the band.
"We've gone very deep into their catalogue, including some B-sides they haven't played live before," he added. "When I checked out album by album, at least a couple of songs on every album went into the mainstream consciousness. The audience is just amazing to see, probably 12-year-olds to people into their 60s, all singing along."
Veteran area promoter and longtime Cure fan Bobbie Welch, who is part-owner of Tricky Falls nightclub, tried for years to book the Cure in this area.
She said the band's appeal is due in large part to Smith, its lead singer, guitarist and chief songwriter "with his mopey but yet somehow uplifting lyrics, you know, 'I'm depressed but there's hope for the future' kind of thing."
"He does kind of capture, for me, and I turned on to them when I was young, that dissonance and angst from being young and a little bit different," Welch said. "It was all the goth girl thing for me. He's the grandpappy of goth."
Smith, 54, always has worn his heart on his sleeve, taking the Cure through dark periods, poppy periods and, now, one that appears reflective and celebratory without being overly nostalgic.
"I can't see our career arc any more. I've got absolutely no idea," he told England's NME magazine last year. "We haven't signed to anyone since the last album came out and the contract was up. I'm not even signed as a writer.
"To be really honest, if we're gonna do something it has to be really good."
Doug Pullen may be contacted at 546-6397. Read Pullen My Blog at elpasotimes.com/blogs.
Who: The Cure.
When: 8 p.m. Thursday.
Where: Don Haskins Center, UTEP.
How much: $24.25, $34.25, $44.25, $54.25 and $64.25, plus service charges, at the UTEP Ticket Center and through Ticketmaster, 800-745-3000 and ticketmaster.com.
Information: 747-5234, utepspecialevents.com.
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