When I was about 14, my mom and I spent the whole summer with family in Ireland as we usually did. I would be with my cousin D 24 hours a day, moping around the way teenagers do so well. I remember we used to listen to whatever dominated the charts at the time, Gabrielle’s ‘Dreams’ springs to mind, as does ‘If’ by Janet Jackson, and the Bodyguard soundtrack with songs by Whitney Houston. Cousin D has an older brother, who at that age was obviously not remotely interested in hanging out with a bunch of teenage girls. But I found him very intriguing, and the main reason for this was The Cure. I remember he had posters up on the wall and what seemed to me to be a vast record collection, all of this band with the dark and mysterious imagery. It was so far removed from Whitney and Janet that I couldn’t quite place it, but I remember it fascinated me.

Cut to January 2008, a phone call from friend RV, whose marriage to my friend MB I was lucky enough to witness at The Little Chapel of the Flowers in Las Vegas last October. She had bought tickets to The Cure as a surprise for her boyfriend, err I mean husband, and wondered if I might like to go with him as it isn’t really her cup of tea. Obviously I was more than willing to oblige! And so MB and myself headed to Ahoy, Rotterdam last night to see Robert Smith and band in action.

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The concert was sold out, and it being the first time in 8 years the band played in The Netherlands it delivered what people seemed to be hoping for: a three hour cross section of their albums to date. Personally, I have to admit I’m a bit of a good weather fan of The Cure. I love the more upbeat poppy side of their work and tend to switch off when it gets too heavy or dark (which some would find ironic considering my Radiohead obsession). This meant that I would drift off a bit during their more ambient drawn out songs and the (relatively) new stuff I don’t know, and would then suddenly snap out of my lull when one of the crowdpleasers was played: Lovesong, Pictures Of You, Lullaby, Just Like Heaven

When after roughly two hours the band finished their main set with Disintegration, I have to be honest and say I was about ready to go home: sitting in those way too close together seats, suffering from a Saint Patrick’s Day whiplash from the previous night, I was about to konk out. We decided to get up out of the seats and stand near the bar-section for the encore. That turned out to be a great idea: loads more room to move around, great view and the encore that kept giving!

Robert Smith opened the encore by asking the crowd whether we wanted 4 songs from (around?) their 1981 album Faith [applause], or 6 happy poppy songs [applause], or both [applause explosion]. So we were treated to another hour’s worth (15 songs) of encore, starting off with six of the happy poppy ones that had everyone bouncing around and screaming along, including Lovecats, Friday I’m In Love, Close To Me and Why Can’t I Be You? Then came a mix of their earliest material from the late seventies- early eighties, including Three Imaginary Boys, Fire In Cairo, Boys Don’t Cry, 10:15 Saturday Night and Killing An Arab. As opposed to most of the shows they’ve played so far in 2008, the band closed with a rocking version of A Forest. (Yes! The much-missed song the last time we saw them at Rock Werchter in 2004)
Click here for the full setlist.

I must tell “older brother” about it and ask him if he thought I would ever go see The Cure fourteen years ago. Something tells me he might be quite surprised.

Thank you RV, it was a great night!!

Check out this clip someone took of Lovesong at the concert last night:

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