Hagley Road to Ladywood, "a peek into media culture & society"

July 28, 2008

"The Cure of my life"

My story begins in 1996, Madrid. I was 14 years old and my older brother had lots of CDs, most of them scattered around his room, full of scratches and without any kind of case. I was looking for something to listen to, tired of Gun's and Roses, Nirvana and other bands that teenagers used to listen to back then. I had started to listen to bands like The Pixies and The Smiths but my music tastes weren't really defined until I found a very ugly looking CD with The Cure on its label. The name of the CD was Standing on a Beach and I had no clue that the music inside of it was going to change my life forever. I remember listening to first tracks such as Boy's Don't Cry and Killing an Arab concentrating on the guitar parts, simple but perfect, trying to replicate them on my cheap guitar.

As I advanced through the record I couldn't believe what was coming through my ears, it was like the evolution of music from a one band perspective. From A Forest to The Lovecats, to In Between Days or Close to Me. I simply felt amazed of the simple but concise evolution of a band into the different sounds of the different years. Not too long after that, I was able to borrow another CD from the Cure. The music I had heard on Standing on a Beach had surprised me a lot, but anyway it was a studio album, just singles and even tough I didn't know it then I hadn't really heard the full potential of the band, a potential that you can only spot when you hear them LIVE.

So lucky for me, the next album I got to listen was Show. For about a year I almost only listened to that double CD. Tape, Open, High and Pictures of You, it was simply too much for me. Those four songs, specially the last one, Pictures of You have really gone far inside of me. Pictures of You simply changed my concept of music, the guitar and bass line are simply perfect, when I listen to it I feel like I'm lost in space, with the melancholy thoughts that the lyrics inspire. When I listen to that sound (which I still do very oftenly) my whole life comes as a thought. I remember old friends, old pictures, old situations and not so old ones. It is without any doubt the song of my life (so far) which has walked with me along the path of living.

After a while I reached the Disintegration album, I have to admit that I don't like the studio versions as much as I like the Live versions, but it was still a fantastic experience. So far I had only listened to the Standing on a Beach and the Show records, and I really didn't know if the Cure still had much to offer me besides, how naive. So I had the CD and I wanted to try it in one of the two ways that I like to listen to music (besides concerts of course). I waited until my family went to sleep and I lay on my bed with the headphones and nothing else. The "sound was deep, in the dark", deeper than I can ever remember. Plainsong just broke my heart, then the fantastic studio version of Pictures of You, and on and on until Untitled. Probably that was the most exciting experience so far for me of listening to a studio album for the first time. The band was too much for me, in a period of two years I was starting to become some kind of Cure-head.

I could listen to nothing else but those few CDs and I just wanted more. I didn't have much money as a teenager but I managed to buy Japanese Whispers which was on sale at Madrid-rock. I liked the CD, but after the experiences I have had with the other albums I guess that I was a little bit dissapointed, although after the years I have really enjoined that album many times after that. The mp3 era had come and someone gave me a CD simply with all of the Cures music. I was extremely happy that I was finally going to be able to listen to all of their music. I remember running back home, climbing up the stairs not waiting for the elevator, starting up the computer, really nervous. Will it work? Is this really the CD I've been looking for so long? It did, indeed it worked.

I was finally able to listen to Pornography, Faith, and all of the rest. It took me a few years to digest all of the albums, some more, some less. But by the time Bloodflowers came out, I was really an extremist Cure fan. The Dream Tour, Madrid, La Riviera, year 2000, 17th or March. I wasn't really sure of what to expect of my first Cure concert, I was nervous, excited and still a kid. I went with my best friend and my brother and his friends. Honestly I didn't care about the setlist, I knew for sure that I was going to enjoy it a lot, buy I have to admit that I really really really wanted them to play Pictures of You. I was really afraid that they wouldn't play it and that it could be the only chance of my life to see the band live, because of the rumors about the disintegration of the band after that tour. I was just 18 at that time, still a kid and I had only been to two concerts then.

I can clearly remember how it started: Out Of This World, which for sure was my favourite songs on Bloodflowers. It was simply a magical moment, from there on the concert went just the best way I could expect. And then it came, Pictures of You. When the song began I got totally paralyzed, watching Robert and Gallup face to face playing those perfect sets of notes, filling the air with the most beautiful sound there can be. I remember my brother calling my attention and saying: there you have it! But I guess I was too concentrated on the music to say anything. God that was really beautiful, one of those unique moments of your life that you know you will remember forever.

August 2nd, 2002 Benicassim Festival. That was my second Cure concert. I was disappointed that I was only going to be able to see the band for an hour, and I wanted more. I remember that that summer I wasn't going to go to the festival, instead I was going to fill up my geeky computer boy need by attending a Lan Party in Valencia. I already had the ticket of the Lan Campus Party but then the Line Up of the festival came out: The Cure!!! and Radiohead!! About three hours after that I cancelled my ticket for the Party in Valencia and I was buying the ticket for the Benicassim FiberFib Concert. As I was saying, it was a pity that The Cure were only going to play for about an hour, but you never know what's going to happen, and luckyly for me, Sigur Ros, another band that I was really excited to see, cancelled their tour, and the organization of the festival offered The Cure to play double time, and so they did :)

Again, the concert started with Out Of This World. I wasn't expecting to feel as sensitive with this concert as I had been with the one in Madrid two years ago, but something happened. I went to the concert with my girlfriend. Since we had meet she had started to listen to the Cure a lot, and it was already one of her favourite bands already. She expected a lot from the show. Before the band came out, a few minutes before the crowd started to clap and cheer them on. I could feel some kind of small shake around my hands. The shackle spread though my body, and by the time they started playing, I swear that I was totally shaking, I could even feel my teeth shaking, something that has never ever happened to me again. I was like a dream coming true, I was really about to see the band again. I just couldn't believe it. The concert went smooth as butter, with a very happy ending which I enjoined all the way. There, with such a big amount of people, it was like a dream coming true. Again, one of the best days of my life.

The next concert was the day of my birthday two years after that. Me and my girlfriend took a 12 hour train to get to Santiago de Compostela, a city in Galicia the north of Spain. 16th July 2004. Nothing much to say about that concert, besides that it was truly amazing. The sound, the temperature and atmosphere, everything was simply perfect. I could see the mountains far behind, the sunset, with cold breezes of air cooling me down. I really needed to take a leak at some point, but the toilets where so far away and there was such a big line that I didn't want to miss a single second of the concert, I had to hold onto it and trust me, I almost exploded at the end :). That was the last concert with a 5 man lineup that I got to see. The concert was slightly longer than 2 hours and it ended with Faith, long version. I remember a couple, a goth couple crying close to me and I understood that they were feeling what I had felt four years ago when I listened for the first time to Pictures of You. I had a very nice feeling of being around people who felt the same way as I did in that moment. It was also beautiful and sad at the same time.

August 5th, 2005, Benicassim Spain. I wasn't planning on going to the festival that year, but again The Cure were playing so I had no choice. It was my first concert with Porl back in the band, and it was really nice. The truth is that I wasn't as suprised as the older concerts, don't know if it was because I had already seen them 3 times, of because it was a 4-piece lineup. The concert was good and I really enjoyed it, but it wasn't as emotional as the previous ones. At least I got to hear songs like The Blood or Push live :)

2008. I was lucky enough to see the band twice in the last tour. Palacio de los Deportes Madrid and Rotterdam. Both shows were really nice but I must say that it is whole different experience to see the band as 4-piece than as a 5-piece. Although Porl is the best guitar player the Cure could ever have, I really miss Roger at the keyboards.

(From: Javier Quevedo Fernández, Madrid, Spain)

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