In the first of an occasional series, I’m marking the anniversary of The Cure concerts i’ve attended over the years, because they are my favourite band and I love them, and because 2020 has made such things into impossible dreams.
The first post has to be my first gig!
On 6th December, way back in 1987, I boarded a coach from Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, to go see my first ever Cureshow at Birmingham NEC Arena.
I had seen a few gigs already. Clannad, Big Audio Dynamite, Spear of Destiny, INXS, The Cult, and Fields of the Nephilim (to name a few i can actually remember) but this was the big one.
This was The Cure.
Earlier that year I had seen The Cure in Orange concert film at my local cinema, in Hanley, Staffordshire, with my school friend Susan Greaves. I played ‘The Blood’ to her on my cassette Walkman because she’d never heard it before. We got up & danced at the back while the movie played. It was magic, but (to coin a phrase) I wished it was all real, I wished it couldn’t be a story.
This time, in Birmingham in Winter, it was brilliantly real.
The seats were the cheapo ones, very near to… the back of the arena. But I didn’t care so much about the seats, I had no intention of staying seated in mine anyhow. The arena lights dimmed and… There was no support band, just ‘Eyemou’ — an experimental film of close-ups on Robert Smith’s mouth and eyes, projected into a screen that covered the stage. The casuals were getting a bit restless during the film, but sixteen year old me was absolutely bloody loving it. The film was the magical bridge between the In Orange movie, and the actual, physical Cure i had yearned to experience live for so long.
I can still feel the goosebumps i felt then, when the opening bars of ‘The Kiss’ kicked in, and the screen dropped to reveal the band I would see again & again & again & again after that fateful first time. Robert’s voice opened like a flower and the crowd went bonkers. And it got better and better.
The next couple of hours were my induction into by now familiar Cure traits:
⁃ The mixed crowd of casuals (one guy was very disappointed they didn’t play The Lovecats and couldn’t believe it when i told him the band couldn’t play it live — true at that time) and die-hards.
⁃ the random b-side/obsCure-ity thrown in to the set to rapturous applause from those in-the-know (that night it was ‘A Japanese Dream’ that surprised the most, i’d been playing my copy to death in the run up to the show).
⁃ and Robert’s charming inability to do onstage banter (’ello! is sometimes the only decipherable phrase to be uttered by our hero).
The coach journey home was a blur as i replayed every note in my backcombed head. I was bewitched, besotted, bewildered — and utterly hooked.
But i’d have to wait until 1989, and The Prayer Tour, to see them again.
And that is another story.
See what The Cure played on 6th December 1987 here.
Comment below with your Cure memories! I’d love to hear them!