Posted by: martinworster | June 5, 2008

119. THE CURE – HOLLYWOOD BOWL MAY 31ST

I must confess my first introduction to The Cure was as a hormone addled pubescent chasing home counties crumpet into haystacks at various ‘balls’ in the late 80s. ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ and ‘Lovecats’ was a staple at a lot of the parties I went to as a spotty public schoolboy, along with ‘Come On Eileen’, ‘Tainted Love’ and ‘Relax’. Those were the days.

I wasn’t some uber-goth who saw them in the late 70s / early 80s supporting The Damned at a gig attended by 30 people in some gothic concert hall in South London. I’m a ‘Best Of The Cure’ kind of guy, first attracted by Robert Smiths superior knack for creating perfect, accessible, short and snappy pop numbers. ‘Lullaby’, ‘The Walk’, ‘Lovecats’ etc etc. You get the idea.

One of the best things about the gig was people watching. Loads of older goths – who probably did see them originally at that gothic venue in south London. Many into their fifties replete with white face make up, heavy eyeliner, Doc Martens, long rain coats and sullen expressions. Wonderful.

For me Robert Smith’s voice embodies the 80s. The tone, the frailty, slightly nasally and high alongside the common Cure themes of alienation and loneliness. Robert is the 80s. He speaks like he sings although he said very little in between songs. He was also a sartorial icon when at school, as I was surrounded by moody teenagers with eyeliner, baggy pants, long carigans and crusty Doc Martins.

The Hollywood Bowl was a sell out. His fans are adoring, singing along to all the songs – and not just the big hits that I knew the words to. Robert looked quite podgy, his face quite expressionless as it beamed onto the big screen like a mannequin. It was somehow touching, like he was some frail porcelain doll ready to crack at the stresses of this big bad world. It’s this obvious vulnerability that clearly makes him so popular. 

Age hasn’t affected his singing or guitar playing and the set lasted for three hours. He played all the big songs, along side the darker, earlier gothic stuff which sounded great and his band were exceptionally tight. I was surprised he didn’t play ‘Killing An Arab’ an excellent ditty of his debut album ‘Boys Don’t Cry’. I wonder if he’s saving that for the Middle Eastern section of the tour.

Plus Robert sang this:

“Yesterday I got so old I felt like I could die,
Yesterday I got so old it made me want to cry,
Go on go on
Just walk away
Go on go on
Your choice is made…”

The Cure, In Between Days

Perhaps my favourite opening lyrics to a song…

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