I've been meaning to write about my experience at The Cure concert last Friday. (I wonder if this is a better start to a blog post than "I was recently at a dinner party", which I was told sounds kinda wanky). Anyway, I went to see The Cure at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA last Friday. It was either the 4th or 5th time I'd seen them live, and I have to admit after having seen them on their 2004 Curiosa Festival Tour, I had pretty low expectations. In fact, I was very much bummed that I was missing Flight of the Conchords the same night.
In all fairness, the 2004 show was ok, but it was mostly boring. This could have been partly due to the fact that the number and quality of bands playing before The Cure dwarfed what I considered a very uninspired rendition of their classic tunes.
Scott, my brother and I arrived at the Patriot Center, and while scouting for food, I immediately noticed the demographic for the show was a bit wonky. There were people my age (which suddenly means, well, um, adults I guess), which wasn't really the case when I'd seen them in the past. Sure there were twenty-somethings a plenty at past shows, but mid to late thirties was an exception, not the rule. There were also some youngsters there (which suddenly means, well, um, teenagers and early twenties). It was pretty cool to see such a wide demographic, but I couldn't help thinking that the youngsters were there to "appreciate history" or to see the band that their real favorites call an influence. Kind of like me watching The Who at Virgin Fest a couple years ago, or watching Iggy Pop at Vegoose this year (ok, I'm lying, I skipped Iggy Pop, but felt I should have seen him to "appreciate history"). Oh, and I can't forget to mention that some of the youngsters were accompanied by their parents who are my age!
So, yes, this show was part nostalgia (ah, I remember when I was into nostalgia), part glaring reminder that I'm not a kid anymore. We watched the opener, 65 Days of Static, which was like Mogwai without the dynamics, which makes them interesting, but less so than Mogwai.
The Cure came on pretty much on time, and started with Plainsong, which to my recollection, they've started every performance I've seen with that song. It's ok though, it is a good song, and a great song to start a show with. I don't blame them for doing that repeatedly. All told, a quarter of the songs they played in their first set was from Disintegration. Which is cool as it is my favorite album of theirs. Other highlights from their first set include Push, In Between Days, Just Like Heaven, and Primary. The closed out their first set with the song Disintigration, which I've always loved live.
Throughout the first set (and the encores), they showed an energy I hadn't seen since the first time I saw them in 1989. Maybe it is just because it was the first night of the tour, and they hadn't grown tired of touring yet. They seemed like performers, who were enjoying performing, and determined to deliver an enjoyable performance. When I saw them in 2004, they seemed disinterested in being there. I felt like we were inconveniencing them by expecting them to play.
Their first encore began with At Night. Not a bad song, but very out of place given the energy in the arena at this point. I was disappointed they chose to play this, especially given some of the songs we didn't hear (Three Imaginary Boys and A Night Like This). But it did provide an opportunity to stand in the queue to the men's room! I did appreciate that the entire first encore was from Seventeen Seconds, closing it out with my all time favorite Cure song, A Forest.
Their second encore was good. It was their more pop material. Mostly stuff I'm less interested in, but stuff they would have been remiss to skip. For me, the highlights were Close to Me and Why Can't I Be You.
Their last set was pretty predictable, but well executed. Robert came back on stage and mumbled something about there being a curfew, and they launched into a five song trip down memory lane, all from their U.S. debut album. Boys Don't Cry, Jumping Someone Else's Train, Grinding Halt, 10:15 Saturday Night, and finally Killing an Arab. Ah, every time I've seen them, they open with Plainsong, and finish with Killing an Arab. I take a bit of comfort in things that don't change. Killing an Arab was a total rock out, which I'd seen before, but has been since 1989 since it blew me away.
In the end, they played for over 3 hours, nearly 40 songs, spanning a career of over 30 years. Given my horrible memory, I was shocked how well I not only remembered the songs, but remembered the names of the songs and which albums they were from. It was a pretty good show, and I'm glad I missed the Conchords!
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