My first encounter with The Cure was likely through my older brother’s cassette of their 1985 release, Head on the Door. The eerie fluorescent and twisted figure on the cover meant that he had to keep it out of sight from my religious, bipolar grandmother who raised us.
Her moods often robbed us of joy. We weren’t allowed to be happy. Memories of her storming into my room while my brother, sister and I were having fun playing Monopoly hold my breath. She flipped the game board, ripped it in half along with all the paper money, tossing it like confetti, screaming that we were demons for gambling on a Sunday.
Between her paranoia and attending Catholic school, I wouldn’t dare be caught listening to Pornography (1982) or any of The Cure’s early albums before Standing on a Beach: The Singles, in 1986. I was safe with the unassuming cover of an old man’s friendly face.
The Cure was taboo. Listening to them was an act of rebellion.
From the wound up twang of Fire in Cairo, the angsty bass in Screw to the happy-go-lucky melody of In Between Days and shattered calamity of Disintegration, The Cure mirrored my topsy-turvy emotions, giving me permission to be happy in my sadness.
During the pandemic listening to The Cure was an act of healing. Under my own roof now, I could appease my inner child thanks to YouTube and absorb their live performances over the last four decades. I marveled at their power and vitality on stage, commiserating with heartfelt confessions of fans in the comments.
Determined to gift myself the joy I missed in the past, I went to Amoeba in Berkeley, bought a turntable and The Cure’s albums from 1979 through 1982: Three Imaginary Boys, Seventeen Seconds, Faith and Pornography.
Opening the plastic released ghosts that could finally dance towards heaven or hell.
Robert Smith’s voice is timeless, an intoxicating elixir mixed with his bandmates’ deep synth, bass, drums and guitar that make me feel like I’m on a train without brakes, careening off the rails towards sweet oblivion, sparks from the friction casting a warm glow over my grief. Their sound is an alchemy that goes from fire to ice to vapor in a beat.
On Pornography’s One Hundred Years when Smith moans, “It doesn’t matter if we all die.” I laughed.
I cried, nostalgic for the kid I never got to be, the one who was free to play games and who went to all The Cure concerts. I vowed to see them live if I ever left the house again.
Now they’re here touring in the U.S. for the first time since 2016. Lead vocalist and guitarist Robert Smith, bassist Simon Gallup, keyboardist Roger O’Donnell, drummer Jason Cooper, guitarist Reeves Gabrels, and guitarist/keyboardist Perry Bamonte launched Shows From a Lost World North American Tour in New Orleans on May 10th. They treated their fans to four new songs introduced during their European leg, and a couple they haven’t played live since 1987: Head on the Door’s Six Different Ways and Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me’s synth ballad 1000 Hours.
I have tickets for the Cure tomorrow, Saturday, May 27th at the Shoreline.
My anticipation is fueled by following the tour with over 12,000 Cure fans around the globe on the Shows of a Lost World Tour Facebook group started by Carl Tapia during the European Tour last winter. Moderated by a stellar volunteer team, the community is a mosaic of the latest livestreams, playlists (courtesy of @markpeterboro), memories, encouragement for those still seeking tickets to the sold out shows and misty-eyed first-timers like me asking how to break in a new pair of Docs.
It was an especially fun place to watch Robert Smith go viral during his epic battle with Ticketmaster over their predatory dynamic pricing when tickets went on sale in March.
I thanked Goth for getting a verified fan presale code and even received a partial refund on excessive fees “All thanks to Robert Smith.” I am whole again.
The Cure plays at the Shoreline Saturday May 27th and Monday May 29th, Opening for them is the Twilight Sad. Parking Lots Open: 4:30 PM Doors Open: 5:30 PM Gates Open: 7:00 PM
Shows from a lost world tour 2023 dream Playlist