See The Cure and die?

Concert review by Aline Giordano - March 2008

The Cure in Concert Very unexpectedly and at the very last minute I managed to get a ticket to see The Cure at Wembley Arena, having tried to get a ticket for the last few months. Needless to remind Uzine readers I am a devoted Cure fan, and have been since the mid-eighties. So you can imagine the state of euphoria I was in when Robert Smith got on stage. Though I only realized he got on stage by the sheer vocal explosion of the crowd. When the first chords of Plainsong filled the Arena, warm waves of wellbeing mixed with melancholy poured into my blood and got to my head. It was better than a sugar rush and much better than recreational drugs. I started dancing. It would be an extraordinary evening I thought.

When Robert Smith sang "I think I'm old and I'm feeling pain", "it's so cold it's like the cold if you were dead", I had tears running down my face. And then I smiled for a second. His voice has this effect on me… rather his songs have always been with me throughout my life since I was 10. Hearing him sing live, hearing his voice fill the entire Arena was a bit much to take for me. "After prayers for rain", I could not recognise the introduction of the next song, but then I caught myself sing "the sun is humming, my head turns to dust". I was filled with immense astonishment and ecstasy because I had realised they were playing one of my favourite ever Cure song: A strange Day. I noticed that a chap was dancing beside me as expressively as I was. At the end of the song, we looked at each other. We obviously both knew the older stuff and were enjoying every single second out of the glimpse of the past. Then he came towards me and murmured an apology for his dancing and declared he was dancing for a dead friend. A bit of a cliché I thought, however, I answered, in an equal cliché, that so was I, really meaning to say that a particular lost one is always with me, and not necessarily or especially at a Cure concert, but bearing in mind that that person introduced me to The Cure some 27 years ago by playing the album 17 Seconds over and over again in the car on our way to school, I could not help but think about him.

Back to the gig, and to more dancing. I had not danced like this for years. I felt I was 18 again, that all my worries and anxieties had disappeared. The adrenaline was keeping me going and I had one of the best gig times in my life dancing to every song and more intently and physically to A Night Like this, Lovesong, Pictures of You, Lullaby, Hot hot hot!!, The Walk, the (Magnificent and powerful) Push. Then at the first notes of Friday I'm in Love, most around me started dancing too. I even caught myself do the heart-shape arm things like they do in the video. I must have been in a complete trance. However silly I may have looked, I was enjoying myself. Then In Between Days received a massive cheer from the crowd who sang along. It always makes me emotional when this happens.

Then troubles started. I stopped dancing during Just Like Heaven, which surprised me. I always was fond of the song. I felt light-headed and I was on the verge of fainting and collapsing. The penny dropped. I had been dancing on a few bits of tofu in my stomach for nearly an hour and a half, and it was the adrenaline that was keeping me alert up-and-till then. I was not just in trance, I was in a real and serious state of hypoglycaemia. I rushed to the bar area: gulped down orange juice and chocolate coated peanuts, because that's all that was on available and most appropriate! It did not help. Reluctantly and slowly, I made my way toward the first aid room. I was shaking, and afraid that if I'd close my eyes I would never wake up. I thought in a funny kind of way: See The Cure and die! I laughed, but when the First Aider took my pulse and looked very worryingly at me reality kicked in. I needed to get some sugar in my blood and quickly. But the catering stands had all shut down and no one could buy me a piece of bread. I would have even considered eating bread that had touched meat if that's all they could come up with. I stayed laying in bed for the remaining of the concert. I was even offered a seat back in the circle rather than stand in the foyer, but I declined the offer. I could not even pick-up my phone to make contact with my friend, let alone go back there unsupervised.

Then my friend came to pick me up, and The Cure were still playing. It must have been well after 11pm, thus they had been playing for over three hours. Feeling safe in the company of my friend, we asked a supervisor if we could go in and sit and watch the last few minutes explaining I had been spending the last two hours in the first aid room. They were playing 10:15 Saturday Night, I knew it was getting to a close. Taking pity on me, the Supervisor very kindly took us to the best seats just to the side of the stage. I watched the end of 10:15 Saturday Night and Killing an Arab. I saw Robert Smith so close I shall never forget the smile of complicity he gave to Simon Gallup at the end of the concert. I know I missed some cracking songs: The Lovecats, Fire in Cairo, M, Play for Today, A Forest, Three Imaginary Boys, Boys don't Cry, Grinding Halt, and One Hundred Years to name just some of my favourite tracks. What a night it was. What a night it could have been. I saw the Cure; I did not die. I'll try my hardest next time: to eat plenty of carbohydrates and sugar before the gig!

For more details, visit… The Cure's website

Photograph © Aline Giordano 2008