The heat was overwhelming and the sweat rolled off my brow as Gary Miller and I reached the door of the Austin Music Hall. Any hope of a cool refreshing breeze was quickly quashed when the doors opened and we were hit by an outbound rush of air that felt like a 15 million watt blow dryer. If it was anyone but The Cure I probably would have turned around right there and sought out cooler climes, but since I have followed the band since Boy's Don't Cry I knew if I bailed I would have to turn in my official Robert Smith eyeliner kit, my prozac, and have to stop wearing black in public, so like a trooper I pushed on.
Queuing up with the other photographers in the hall, the time came and as a group we tried to push our way through the mass of hot, sweaty Cure fans, packed elbow to elbow in an effort to get close to the stage. Relying on Gary's huge frame to act as a ram we finally emerged at the pit. Ditching my bag in the corner and gearing up, the photographers all sat about swapping lies. I was surrounded by a bunch of Canon-heads, and the chatter eventually de-volved into a Canon v. Nikon argument for which I was woefully un-supported. I was glad when the time came to enter the pit.
Robert Smith of The Cure - more photos photo by Jeff Barringer - Staff Photographer
Waiting in the pit I had a chance to talk with a few crowd members dangling over the barrier. Almost to a person they were all huge Cure fanboys (or fangirls), some holding signs, and one boldly displaying the name "Robert Smith" tattooed on her forearm, much to the complete disinterest of her girlfriend who appeared to be bored by the whole thing. It has never ceased to amaze me the huge cult of personality that has surrounded Robert Smith even to this day. It is doubtful that Morrisey would have ever had a role model for depression to work off of had it not been for the groundwork laid by Smith and his bandmates and I daresay that there would be no "Emo" if it wasn't for the Cure's pioneering effort in the goth field in the 80's. I have a lot of friends, both male and female, I grew up with that would probably consider themselves Cure fanboys and since I have 10 of their CD's I probably belong in that group as well.
Now that said, this show is a Cure fanboy's wet dream.
Smith and crew may be older but they sounded fantastic. We got to shoot our customary 3 songs and being so close to my heroes was an incredible experience. I tried hard to hide my excitement (I am supposed to like a lot HARDER stuff than this) but I kept singing along as I worked my way around the pit, as did everyone else in the audience. After our 3 songs were over I hesitated before leaving the pit, taking one long last view from up close before fading back into the crowd.
After stowing my gear, I shouldered my bag and set off to find a cool spot to enjoy the rest of the show. I ended up in the back by the bar, trying to stay close to an A/C vent that was straining to blow at all. Sipping on cokes I stood back while the Cure went through a 3 hour set, 30+ songs including the two encores. They even reached all the way back and covered almost the entire Boy's Don't Cry album during their second encore. I would kill for a DVD or even a CD of this show.
Despite the oppressive heat, the massive dehydration, and the huge crowd, this was an incredible show and if your a Cure fan it's a can't miss. But if your a Cure fan, you wouldn't anyway.
Porl Thompson of The Cure - more photos photo by Jeff Barringer - Staff Photographer
Simon Gallup of The Cure - more photos photo by Jeff Barringer - Staff Photographer
The End of the World
The Big Hand
Pictures of You
The Perfect Boy
From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea
A Strange Day
Sleep When I'm Dead
Doing The Unstuck
Just Like Heaven
The Only One
Signal To Noise
The Hanging Garden
One Hundred Years
Play For Today
Three Imaginary Boys
Fire In Cairo
Boys Don't Cry
Jumping Someone Else's Train
10:15 Saturday Night
Killing An Arab