at Chain of Flowers
I can officially die and ascend into heaven. I mean, the other three shows I attended were good - damn good, at times even transcendent (Figurehead in Austin, The Kiss in Ft. Laud, Kyoto and Charlotte in Atlanta, yadda yadda yadda) - but there was something spellbindingly magical about the Charlotte show. And that something, of course, was the Faith encore.
I really wasn't expecting it. In all places, Charlotte. I knew from following the setlists that Faith has rarely been played on this tour, and Holy Hour and Drowning Man not played at all yet. It seems The Cure revels in teasing us and making these songs so coveted that by the time they are played, we practically explode from the anticipation.
The sad thing is, most people won't get to experience the Faith encore. Most people don't have the summers off, like me, and are willing to nearly drain their savings to see five shows. Most people are more responsible with their money, unlike me. Most people are not dorks, like me, who thrive on Cure shows to decimate the summer blues. Most people are at work, pissing away their mundane lives. Me too, typically.
So most people are only able to see the show in their town and that's it. And of course, the shows are magical no matter what, but the die-hard fans want Faith and Porno and BF songs and other delectably dark treats. But I guess die-hard fans number fewer than the abundant JLH-loving mofos. Don't get me wrong - I adore JLH. Best most shimmering pop song ever. But I can do without it for the 847238234823472763 time. Of course, the masses devour it lovingly, so I should just STFU.
So anyway. The show starts off with a gorgeously haunting Underneath the Stars. I had, of course, listened to bootlegs of it many times, and had seen it once in Atlanta, so I was already besotted with its bleak beauty. But tonight's version was particularly gripping and chilling. The song cascades and swirls and sweeps and envelops. It is timeless like the cosmos and constellations.
There were so many other highlights of tonight's show it's hard to know where to begin. A few that leap to mind:
End of the World was especially strong tonight. It's one of my favorite Cure-pop songs, but live it hasn't always worked for me. Tonight it lit up.
Want is one of my favorite openers. Killer tune and searing live.
Perfect Boy is touchingly adorable and I can't wait to hear the studio version of it.
Hot Hot Hot is funk funk funk.
Shake Dog Shake shook up the room. Before they launched into this psychedelic scorcher, Robert said, "This song was number one all over the world." Of course, he jests, the dork.
One Hundred Years never fails to invigorate me to the point of mania.
Baby Dog on the Rag or whateverthefuckitiscalled ripped my nipples right off, it was so powerful. Now I have to get new nipples.
Now for the utterly transcendent part: The Faith encore.
What the fuck?! I totally was NOT expecting that. I mean, it's CHARLOTTE. Charlotte is cool and all, but not like a hotbed of Cure freakyness, I would think. I mean, the crowd was better than in Atlanta, I thought - more into the show, and knew more songs - but I just don't equate Charlotte with "dark Cure mania."
But whatever - obviously they didn't play the Faith encore for US, per se - it was for HDNet, who was recording the show. So yeah.
Anyway, when Simon punched the first bleak basslines of Holy Hour, I thought I was either going to wet myself, or break into tears. I think I did a little of both. Actually, I did cry, right after I screamed like a motherfucker. You have NO idea what that song does to my head. Pyschologically it messes with me. It plunges me into a zombified otherwordly trance. And the lyrics resonate with me so insanely.
And then Other Voices. Fuck! And then Drowning Man. Fuck me backwards! And then Faith. Everyone in awe, watching and listening reverently.
Me, rapturous. For most of the song, Porl stands sullenly with his guitar, but toward the end, after Robert sang extra cryptic lyrics, Robert attacked his guitar and Porl began playing melodically.
Simon kneeling during most of the Faith encore. Simon is a badass punk mofo. Sorry, it needs to be said. Too handsome for words and so fucking cool it hurts.
So really, they could have closed the show then and I would have floated home in a dark reverie. But they came back, to the exuberance of the crowd. Robert said, "This must be the weirdest segueway ever," and then they launched into Freakshow. By then I had moved all the way to the front and was "dancing like a freak." Freakshow owns my ass. So what if Faith into Freakshow is wildly incongruous? It's the fucking Cure and nothing makes ANY sense with them - and yet it all makes perfectly lucid sense. This band can do the darkest of the dark and the brightest of the bright with equal intensity and flair. And of course all the shades of emotion in between.
So during the pop encore Robert was very interactive with the audience, as he has been, seemingly, the entire tour. He honestly has never seemed so giddy and brimming with life to me. His surreal gestures and goofy dancing - the audience just CRAVES it and can't get enough of it. He smiles sheepishly and flirts shamelessly and shakes like milk and gyrates grandly. My friend and I are jumping up and down like freaky fools and screaming like pre-pubescents at a boy band show, and we don't give two SHITS about it. Robert is sexy, godfuckingdammit, and he knows it. At 50, he is cherubic and gorgeous and adorable. It needs to be said, and I said it. Now I must fan myself.
And PORL. I have a new love. His guitar playing tonight almost blew me out of the building. Thankfully I remained firmly in place. I was standing very close on his side and watched him throughout the show, as he scorched through song after song in a paradoxically passionate and stoic way. I can't explain that part, except to say that he's at once calm and intense when he's playing. It's a joy to watch.
My friend and I had to scream at him a few times, we were so drunken with love for him. He finally acknowledged us with a boyish smile. He also acknowledged intoxicated fans with a peace sign earlier in the show.
And I officially love his look. Audaciously flamboyant. Fuck convention, his look says, and fuck "age appropriate" attire. Porl, I am with ya. Fuck orthodox provincial motherfuckers. They will die empty of soul.
What else to report? Probably loads more, but my head is spinning dizzily. Loud fucking show. And my vocal chords are shred - how does Robert do this night after night? My imaginary hat's off to him for vocal stamina. Bob, you rock AND roll. Your voice is chillingly clear, like glaciers.
The Charlotte show fucked me sideways. Sorry, it has to be said that way. There is no eloquent way to put it, so sorry if you are easily offended. Actually, fuck off if you are, because clearly you don't get The Cure at all. A Cure show demands vulgar hypberbole.