At 10 a.m. on Friday, November 13 at 10 am., I hit refresh on the Live Nation website, selected the best tickets I could find (“Front section already gone!”), and in just 10 minutes had secured what I had been waiting for for 20 years: I was finally going to see the Cure live.
One thing or another had prevented me from seeing them over the years. And while I had seen my other heroes in concert – Paul McCartney, Neil Finn, the Innocence Mission, Justin Currie – I had yet to see the Goth heroes from the UK perform.
It’s not like I was an early adopter, listening to the stark “Three Imaginary Boys” at the age of 11 or being all gloom and doom in my early teens taking in their next three bleak albums. I was a bandwagon jumper, first taking notice during their greatest hits compilation Staring at the Beach. “In Between Days” was the poppiest thing I had heard since “Come On Eileen.” I was hooked, and while their next album, Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss me was uneven and disjointed, “Just Like Heaven” emerged as a perfect pop song from a band that was supposed to be frightening the pants off of children and parents alike. From there it was an easy step to the morose Disintegration, both beautiful and depressing.
I just finished a biography of the Cure, and it doesn’t seem like they set out to be the Goth leaders of a generation. They just liked to do a lot of drugs, which affected their music in a depressing, shoe-gazing way. But lead singer Robert Smith, he of the teased hair and lipstick and makeup, had a pop sensibility that tended to make itself known in the midst of all the distress and self-pity. “Friday I’m In Love,” their biggest hit, was pure bubblegum, and songs such as “Lovesong” and “Pictures of You,” while somewhat depressing, were about love. Where does that belong in the Goth world?
Robert Smith is fast approaching 60, but he keeps on entertaining those who have loved his music from the first strains of “Boys Don’t Cry” in 1979 to the ending notes of 4:13 Dream in 2008. He seemed to capture my thoughts, fears and feelings as a young adult in college, and I have always clung to those memories and the satisfaction he gave me.
So I, a 47-year-old graying adult with pre-teen kids, will be singing my heart out to all the Cure favorites next spring as Robert Smith fills my bucket list. Maria McKee, please go on tour in the South, and my list will be complete.