Thursday, August 1, 2013

Revisiting My Goth Days with the Cure

This post may seem a bit off topic, but hey, it's my blog! Plus, this will in a way lead to another post I'm working on about violence comitted against those on the margins of society.

I discovered the Cure around 1986, largely through the classic compilation "Standing on a Beach." It was revelatory. I had never really been into most of the standard Top 40 stuff played on American radio. Here was music that was exciting and alive and different. It was music a sensitive young man like myself could relate to. How could I not love a band that introduced me to Albert Camus?

The Cure served as a gateway to other bands: Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Sisters of Mercy, Joy Division, etc. By the time I graduated high school, I had joined the ranks of the perpetually black clad, where I would remain for several years.

Both my musical and sartorial tastes would eventually expand, but my love for Goth music has never gone away, and it is still the musical subculture I most relate to.

This was reinforced on July 27, when the Cure played their first ever show in my hometown of Honolulu. It goes without saying that I was there in the audience.

I had seen the Cure previously in San Diego in 1992 during their "Wish" tour. It was the best concert I had ever been to, bar none. (Incidentally, I saw Peter Murphy around the same time. It was like Goth sensory overload!) 

The Cure, Honolulu 2013, may have been even better than the Cure, San Diego 1992.

Some thoughts on the Honolulu concert…

The Cure live is almost a different band than studio Cure. Don't get me wrong; I love my Cure albums. But in concert every song is far more powerful and almost crystalline in purity of sound. By contrast, the albums almost sound like they were recorded by a really great Cure cover band.

They performed for nearly three-and-a-half hours, about an hour longer than when I saw them in San Diego back in 1992. With the Cure, you get your money's worth.

I''m a fan of former Cure guitarist Porl Thompson. I was a bit concerned that his replacement, Reeves Gabrels, wouldn't be as good. My fears were unfounded. Gabrels did a phenomenal job.

The Cure currently has a different lineup than when I saw them back in 1992, yet they still sound nearly the same. I don't know if Robert Smith just has a real eye for talent or if he's a stern taskmaster when it comes to rehearsal, but the level of consistency is impressive.

Speaking of Robert Smith… he's still Robert Smith. The look, the vocals, the gestures… all still there. I wouldn't want it any other way!

As for the playlist, any longtime Cure fan will have quibbles. Mine would be that they leaned a bit too much towards later, poppier stuff at the expense of earlier, darker stuff. It's a shame they didn't play anything from "Faith." I was thrilled that they played '100 Years' and "A Forest" though.

I don't want to sound like I'm totally slamming the poppy stuff, though. I admit the one-two punch of  "In Between Days" and "Just Like Heaven" made me misty-eyed. (Yes, boys DO cry!)

Two final thoughts:
1. The Cure remains the best live band I have ever seen. Even after three hours, they could have played for another hour or two and I would have been overjoyed.

2. I enjoy many genres of music, but deep down I'll always be a Goth at heart. 

(The photos are from Click here to see more and to read their excellent review.)

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