This was a tough thing to write about, because by definition any song by your favourite band is going to be worthy of inclusion in a selection like this. So I’ve decided to use the first one that I ever saw them play live.
The year was 1984, and The Cure had just released their album ‘The Head on the Door’. I still have a green A4 ring binder with the album details scrawled on on silver marker pen, including the very careful scratching out of Phil Thornally’s name and replacement with Simon Gallup’s*. From the pages of Smash Hits – my music magazine of choice at the time – I learned that they would be playing the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham not long after my birthday and determined to go.
A schoolfriend, Richard Phillips, agreed to come along with me. At the time we were pretty close – we were taking the same three A levels and sat next to each other in every class – though in time we drifted apart and ended up falling out pretty badly during our university years.
I had never been to a venue as big as the NEC, but I remember being surprised that there was room to move around inside before you got into the auditorium area. I also remember being surprised at the price of everything, although this wasn’t a big enough surprise to stop me paying £8 for a t-shirt replicating the album cover (bear in mind that £8 was more than the album itself had cost).
Our seats were in a small set of raised stalls at the rear of the arena. This gave us a pretty good view of the stage, although in those days before video screens became commonplace for arena shows it was a bit like watching anything on a large screen television in a pub.
On every seat was a flyer advertising the band’s fan club, imaginatively named The Cure Club. I pocketed mine, joined in the days following the show, and remained a member for the next three years or so.
Oddly, I cannot remember who the support act were. I’m usually pretty good at things like that, but on this occasion my mind is blank. But I recall vividly the moment when the lights in the auditorium dimmed, the backdrop to the stage brightened blue and gold, like a sunrise, and the band walked on and played this, the opening track of the album**
*I appreciate that this will be of interest only to the couple of Cure fans reading this, but it will save them asking later
**Or, at least, what I thought was the opening track. It was only years later that I realised that I had been playing the album the wrong way around and that it was supposed to open side two