Friday, July 27, 2007

Cuddly Nostalgia Fest

Fuji Rock 2007: Part 6
The Cure

The last time I saw The Cure was in a tiny night club in Colchester, Essex in 1980. On that occasion the audience were in a state of terror as Robert Smith had to face down a horde of fascist skinheads chanting “Sieg Heil!” in front of stage. Respect.

A lot has changed in 27 years. On this occasion the audience of well-behaved Japanese were considerably more amenable and The Cure’s act rapidly took on the feel of a cuddly nostalgia fest.

Before The Cure begin the stage is filled with smokey dry ice. I'm surprised no uniformed Japanese man has run on stage shouting, "Abunai!" *

A gaggle of Japanese goth fans suddenly muscle their way to the front of the stage dressed in layers of black and platform leather boots. The temperature's been in the high 30s all day and they must be sweltering. The anticipation of seeing their hero is proving too much for some of them as they squeal and hysterically grab onto each other's braids.

I recognize most of the tunes since this is pretty much a greatest hits set, but it all seems rather humdrum. The guitarist inexplicably loses his way on Close to Me and the leaden drummer hardly varies his approach from one song to the next.

The Cure's gothic indie-pop used to hold sway over half the western world, but tonite I felt they paled beside the hi-tech excitement of Muse.My friend is a major Cure fan but even he is distinctly un-blown away and can hardly wait to run off to the Heineken tent.

But it was nice to see Robert Smith, he sounds great and is as shyly charismatic as I remember. He politely thanks the crowd after each song, except he tends to clip his words so instead of "Thank you" all we hear is a rather fey "..kew"

Dinner: Two Heinekens and a beef kebab from the Field of Heaven. Heineken 8 out of 10. Kebab 6 out of 10.

(* means "Dangerous!")

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