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The Cure in concert

Last night I fulfilled a 23 year old dream: I finally got to see The Cure in concert. Atmosphere slut that I am, I've loved their complex, layered sound since I was 15 and picked up The Head on the Door from Manifest Records in Columbia, SC back when it was a dingy hole in the wall downtown (they've since moved to a better-lit location in a shopping center). I had my first real kiss while Standing on a Beach was playing.

We were really early getting there -- about 6:00 pm. I was worried after I'd been warned that getting out of the parking lot at the Gwinnett Arena was "just horrible." We didn't have any delays or problems exiting, so maybe it depends on the lot you're in.

Our tickets said 8:00 pm, but I'd heard that the band had an opening act, and I didn't know if that meant that they would start at 7:00 pm, or what. I wanted to err on the side of caution, since ticketing for this show was something of a hot mess -- this show had been cancelled at least once (one of the security guards said twice, which would explain a lot - more on that in a bit). Back in July of 2007, I bought tix for myself and spring_1970 for September 15, 2007. The band cancelled near the end of August with the following message:

With all apologies for any inconvenience or disappointment it may cause, we have made a decision to move the September/October 2007 North American Cure shows to April/May 2008. The schedule as it stands only gives us a couple of weeks to finish our new double album before we hit the road again, and we know this just isn't enough time to complete the project to our genuine satisfaction. We also want to create a new live show for North America, and incorporate new songs… and we need time and focus to do this... So although we can agree it is a great shame to move these dates – believe us we have been looking forward to them more than anyone! - we honestly feel that in the bigger picture we are making the right decision. All tickets held for all 2007 North American Cure shows will be valid for the re-scheduled 2008 shows, and of course anyone who seeks a refund will be able to get one. All refund/rescheduling details will be announced very soon. Once again, our genuine apologies to anyone who is upset by this announcement - please be encouraged by our promise: The spring 2008 Cure shows will be even better than the fall 2007 ones would have been!!! See you all soon…

Love, Robert, Simon, Jason and Porl


April/May, they said, but apparently the scheduling didn't work out until June 15th, almost a year after I'd bought the tickets. Scheduling it on Father's Day and the same weekend as our 20th high school reunion messed up seeing it with spring_1970, so my husband graciously stepped in, and was wonderful about the whole thing. He'd gone to see his father earlier in the day, and his sister apparently teased him a bit about going, saying, "How'd you get talked into that?" and so on. My sister was very witty: she left me a hilarious voice mail, where she wasn't sure exactly what to say. "So, what do you say to someone going to see The Cure?" she said. "'Have a good time' doesn't seem to be appropriate. Have a melancholy time?" She's too funny. :)

So, it's 6:00, and I'd say we were about 20th in line, maybe. It was a big cross-section of folks – teens, college students, middle agers, and even some original Cure fans from back in the Seventies. Re: the middle agers, ‘twas amusing to see folks who had obviously merged into general society with day jobs, and yet, the telltale extra piercings here and there hinted at a gothier past.

I think every third person or so was in black, myself included. I explained to my dear husband that if a catastrophe of some sort happened and he needed to identify my body in a crowd, my black t-shirt had red on it.

Security seemed to be largely comprised of local volunteers -- the kid I asked in the parking lot didn't have the first clue as to what time they'd be opening the doors (you know, so that we could stay in the comfortable air conditioning of the car until that point); the elderly lady who was the last agent before I entered the door kept trying to wand me, and I cooperated even though I'd already been through a check while the woman who had previously checked me told her "She's clear, she's clear," and to me: "Go on in." It seemed an inexperienced bunch, but I guess if you're training people, fans of The Cure are a reasonably good choice for a practice group -- what are we going to do, get bummed out and write poetry about it? ;)

Security also didn't seem to get the fact that Cure fans Don't Do Sun. They tried to get people to split into two lines for two entrances, but the second line required standing in the fading sun, so only about ten people took them up on the offer. Black clothes absorb heat. The temperature was tolerable in the shade with a mild breeze, but standing in the sun would've been pushing it.

Also funny: Security sign that said no chains or studs. Bwahahahahahaha! I think they relaxed that rule somewhere after the tenth person or something, 'cause I definitely saw people inside the arena wearing their share of metal.

They finally let us in almost a quarter after 7:00 pm. An arena staffer (real staff, not a volunteer) asked me about my shirt, and what it said on the back. You see, although I was wearing a black t-shirt, it wasn't a Cure shirt. This alone was enough to make me stand out, apparently. "It's the Mutant Enemy!" I said perkily. "He says: 'Grr! Aaargh!' It's a Buffy the Vampire Slayer thing." No look of recognition, so I made my way inside and rejoined my dear husband. Side note: the oldest previous show t-shirt I saw was for Disintegration, worn by a woman probably about six years my senior and in beautiful condition. She had to have hardly worn it.

We used the restrooms (a prudent move, as it turned out, given the length of the show), and bought merchandise: a t-shirt for each of us, a program, a keychain for spring_1970 since she couldn't be there, and a collection of buttons for my sister. Total: $120. I remember when concert tees were $15 to $20 or so for an arena headline act, and when I thought that was a lot.

We headed in to find our seats. Remember the ticketing wonkiness I mentioned? Here's where it becomes relevant. As 8:00 drew closer and closer, we noticed how sparse attendance seemed to be. The floor was full, but there weren't that many people in the bleachers. I asked the nearest usher where everyone was -- were they all out in the lobby? She said no, the concert has been rescheduled twice, and so it's sold only about halfway up. She said it'd be fine to move up. Didn't have to tell me twice: we moved from row Z to row N - about halfway down the section, so that worked to our advantage.

A band called 65 Days of Static opened a bit after 8:00 pm, and played for about 30 minutes. I liked the first couple of songs they did well enough, but after that, ennh. In fairness to them, the sound mix was a bit muddy.

We waited for the roadies to move the opener's stuff out of the way for the main attraction, and at 9:15 pm, the band finally took the stage.

The set list for The Cure 4 Tour on Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Note: I'll update this as I can -- this is the best I've been able to find on the 'net today, and I'm not sure it's 100% accurate. You have to understand - they played for nearly three and a half hours - almost 40 songs!

  1. Underneath the Stars (new, from their upcoming album)

  2. Want (from Wild Mood Swings)

  3. A Strange Day (from Pornography)

  4. The Walk (from Japanese Whispers)

  5. The End of the World (from their self-titled twelfth album)

  6. Lovesong (from Disintegration)

  7. To Wish Impossible Things (from Wish)

  8. Pictures of You (from Disintegration)

  9. Lullaby (from Disintegration)

  10. Fascination Street (from Disintegration)

  11. The Perfect Boy (new, from their upcoming album)

  12. From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea (from Wish)

  13. Other Voices (from Faith)

  14. Sleep when I'm Dead (new, from their upcoming album)

  15. Push (from The Head on the Door)

  16. Doing the Unstuck (from Wish)

  17. In Between Days (from The Head on the Door)

  18. Just Like Heaven (from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me)

  19. Kyoto Song (from The Head on the Door)

  20. Hot Hot Hot!!! (from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me)

  21. The Only One (new, from their upcoming album)

  22. Charlotte Sometimes (from Faith reissue and Standing on a Beach)

  23. Signal to Noise (from Join the Dots)

  24. One Hundred Years (from Pornography)

  25. Baby Rag Dog Book (new, from their upcoming album)


  26. First encore:
  27. At Night (from Seventeen Seconds)

  28. M (from Seventeen Seconds)

  29. Play for Today (from Seventeen Seconds)

  30. A Forest (from Seventeen Seconds)


  31. Second encore:
  32. The Lovecats (from Japanese Whispers) (Smith made a funny comment to the effect of, "We're going to play this, but we can't effin' sing the words!")

  33. Let's Go to Bed (from Japanese Whispers)(More of the funny: "I keep saying I'm never singing this again, and then I do.")

  34. Freakshow (new, from their upcoming album)

  35. Close to Me (from The Head on the Door)

  36. Why Can't I Be You? (from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me)


  37. Third encore:
  38. Boys Don't Cry (from the album Boys Don't Cry)

  39. 10.15 Saturday Night (from Boys Don't Cry)

  40. Killing an Arab (from Boys Don't Cry)


As you can see from the length of the list, we definitely got our money's worth.

I loved the light effects, and I was amazed by how good they sounded! Porl Thompson remains an utterly phenomenal guitarist. Robert Smith was pitch perfect -- some vocalists just don't sound as good live as they do in the studio for a variety of reasons, but he was excellent. I also loved his theatrics on "Kyoto Song." He sounded so sad leaving the stage after the third encore! I think he was surprised by how much Georgia loved them, and said in this very mournful, wistful, sincere tone: “It was good to see you again.” They left the lights down long enough that I thought they were going to return to the stage for more; the crowd was certainly still cheering. I think they wanted to do another encore as they have done at some shows, but were just too wiped, and who's to say anything against that after three hours? I could tell that Smith's voice was getting a bit tired by the end.

You know how a tree grows in rings, with the oldest rings at the center? Use that as an analogy for my brain last night. It was like I temporarily shed 23 layers, 23 rings of growth, and all that was left was my 15-year old brain at some point during the concert. I danced like I haven't danced in about a decade. It was awesome.

A significant number of people went for smoke/bathroom breaks any time the band did a new song. I thought that was rather rude. Every familiar song was once new -- I say give the material a shot.

My only minor complaints are that I wish Robert's microphone had been turned up just one more notch.We were toward the back, and we missed hearing some of his comments, not to mention that on some of the songs, his vocals seemed a little overwhelmed by guitars. I was also just a little disappointed that they didn't play my fave, "A Night Like This." I would also have enjoyed hearing "A Letter to Elise" from Wish. I know they've been playing both on this tour, but in a catalogue that spans over 30 years, you can't hit everything. Besides, I was too astounded and happy over getting to hear "Killing an Arab" live and played right. They haven’t been performing it, or have occasionally changed it to “Kissing an Arab” or “Killing Another” because apparently non-Cure fans don’t get that it’s a synopsis of Camus' The Stranger. It was released in 1979, and doesn’t have squat to do with the Middle East. I guess they finally said, “It’s our song, and if they don’t get it, that’s their problem,” and good for them. Fortunately, I had my copy before the world went nuts and we had to have labels on records saying that the song didn’t advocate violence against people of Arabic descent, yadda, yadda, yadda.

As I said, I danced my butt off. I was so high on endorphins by the end of the evening that it took next to nothing to make me giggle, and I laughed out loud at a woman probably four years my senior who was wearing a t-shirt (black, of course) that said, “Unscathed by human emotion.” I don’t think she realized that I was laughing at her taking herself so very seriously (she did not appear to be wearing the shirt satirically), but even if she did, she was unscathed, of course. :)

Ultimately, I'd do it again tomorrow if I could. It was a terrific show that was well worth the wait.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
goodjoan
Jun. 17th, 2008 01:51 am (UTC)
That sounds like a great night! I'm so glad you got to go and have fun!
pointedview
Jun. 18th, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you, and thank you for reading that large chunk of text. :)
(Anonymous)
Jun. 28th, 2008 07:49 am (UTC)
I waited 16 years myself to see The Cure!
I finally saw them in Fairfax VA on 05/09/08. I was definitely heartbroken when I missed their New Orleans show in 1992 because it was sold out.

This time I was prepared and had front-row seats. Robert Smith actually locked eyes with me for a few seconds - not kidding! I travelled for 24 hours (including layovers in HI and TX) from Guam to VA just to see The Cure, and it was definitely worth it.

The first Cure song I ever heard was "Close To Me" in 1984.
pointedview
Jun. 28th, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC)
Re: I waited 16 years myself to see The Cure!
Hello, and thank you for commenting! Let me see ... we must be around the same age. I'm not sure precisely what the first Cure song I heard was, but it could well have been "Close to Me," given that The Head on the Door was one of my first Cure albums (I bought two simultaneously, as I recall).
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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