lips on the cover. I liked the lyrics. I liked Robert Smith's voice. I scoured the local Record Bar for old albums, which back then came in tape form. It was fairly easy to find The Head On The Door and Seventeen Seconds. But, what I really wanted was the first album. I wanted to start at the beginning.
This was Midland, Texas in the late eighties. We didn't have a radio station that played anything other than Top 40 (Whitney Houston, Huey Lewis and the News, you get the picture) or, worse, Country! There were only two record stores. There was NO INTERNET! I don't think I'd ever even heard of Columbia House.
Over the next couple of years, I accumulated several other albums. My mom or dad would pick them up on business trips to bigger cities. But, never the first one. No one could find the first one! How was I supposed to get my Cure fix?
When I was fifteen, I got to go to New Zealand with my theater group. We stopped in London on the way home for one night. My mission? Find a record store and purchase The Cure's first album. I dragged some friends into a Piccadilly Circus music store and there it was, Three Imaginary Boys! The cover had a vacuum cleaner, a refrigerator and a lamp on it. It cost twenty-two pounds. I remember because I left the sticker on it forever and ever. It looked British and cool to me. To this day, I think of the name of that album as Three Imaginary Boys, even though it was released in America as Boys Don't Cry. It was a wonderful album for a teenage girl, whatever you call it. Totally worth the allowance I blew. The music was raw and head-bopping and the song, "Jumping Someone Else's Train" became my personal anthem because why not, right? You could do worse for a personal anthem.
Over the years, I collected and loved all of the albums. My favorite Cure song changes all the time. I'm a gigantic nerd for The Cure. I don't know how to be any other way.
Last night I saw my precious band perform in one of my favorite theaters, The Pantages. If you'd told me at age fifteen that in twenty years I'd be sitting twenty feet away from Robert Smith, she might have fainted. Actually, current-day me almost fainted last night when I saw my seat. My first concert was actually at age fifteen and it was (who else?) The Cure, on the Prayer Tour for Disintigration. I sat way in the back with my friends, on a grassy hilltop. The band was just a blur in the distance. Last night, I swear to you, I held sustained eye-contact with Robert Smith for a big chunk of "Secrets." (I kept thinking, Don't look down! Don't look down, Kendra!) It was the closest to the stage I've ever been for a band I love. It was amazing.
This tour is called Reflections. They are performing seven shows total, in London, New York City and Los Angeles. They played Boys Don't Cry, Seventeen Seconds and Faith, starting out with just the original three and adding the band members who played on each album along the way. Each set was about forty minutes of awesomeness with a five minute intermission in between, where everyone would sit down and rest up for the next round of dancing and screaming. There were two encores, one where they did B-sides, (including one of my favorite songs, "Charlotte Sometimes"), and another where they busted out a bunch of hits, ending with "Love Cats." I looked out over the audience during this song and it was just a sea of iPhones recording.
I know I'm a tiny bit prone to hyperbole but last night was one of the best nights of my life. I was by myself, doing something I love to do, seeing a band I've always adored. Seventeen Seconds has always been one of my favorite albums and hearing it live was absolutely indescribable. They sounded good, the audience was into it and everything seemed right in the universe. Plus, Robert Smith looked at me!!!
I think if teenage me could have known I'd have a night like that, it would've seen me through some of my toughest times over the years. I know that who you want to be as a teenager is not always who you grow up to be and that's probably a good thing. I mean, what does a fifteen-year-old know, right? But, I think teenage-me would like now-me, or this part, anyway. The concert freak part. And, that's something.
Next up: Morrissey at The Shrine! Nobody tell Robert Smith I'm going to see his nemesis. I think we had a connection!
*photo by Me!