Like nerds everywhere, I was obsessed with the Cure when I was a teenager. It was out-of-control, poster-plastered walls, concert-footage-on-repeat unhealthy. Looking for a great way to separate yourself from your teen peers? Fall in love with five make-up wearing goth rockers who reached popularity in the decade prior. It’s a surefire bet.
I remember the first time I heard “Friday I’m in Love” on the radio riding home from the orthodontist and I was all “Mom, who is this,” talking through my headgear. She didn’t know. Years after piano lessons I still only know how to play “Close To Me.” You get it.
Listening to the Cure alone in my bedroom defined my teenage experience, but when I finally got to see them in concert for my 17th birthday, I could’ve, like, DIED. Little did I know I would be touching lead singer Robert Smith. TOUCHING HIM.
The summer of 2000, the Cure were touring for the first time since I was allowed to go to concerts and I HAD TO GO. But, effing A, they were playing my town while I was traveling for a dumb family reunion. I sobbed when the tour dates went live. The only show I might’ve been able to make was their last U.S. date in Jones Beach, Long Island. Well, I obviously had to make it happen. Road trip! With my mom.
I woke up early and called (called? why did I call?) Ticketmaster the second tickets went on sale. It was 8 a.m. on a Saturday. I waited on the line for a half an hour. When I got through I ordered three tickets; one for me, one for my BFF, and one for my boyfriend. My mom and his mom were chaperoning. Nobody else liked the Cure on this trip but me.
The trip was unmemorable outside of the four blissful hours spent at Jones Beach Amphitheatre. The moms dropped us off two hours before the concert started. They must’ve dropped us off when “doors open” before I knew what “doors open” meant. So, we went inside the empty stadium and got our tickets scanned by the only other people there— the ushers.
We walked to the different tiers of the massive theatre, passing an usher at each entrance to each section. We kept getting closer and closer to the stage. Finally, we were ushered to the VERY FRONT ROW!!! I had bought front row tickets and I didn’t even know it.
I cried for about an hour and a half, watching the crew prep the stage. I was genuinely scared by how hard my world was about to be rocked, front row nonetheless. It was too much. Too close. Close to me. My nonplussed best friend and boyfriend smoked cigarettes and got Cokes to pass the time. Our section started filling up with other concert-goers. A group of three rail-thin Europeans with fishnets on their arms were to our right; an old guy in a wheelchair was to our left. And we were in the front.
I don’t remember much from the following two hours. I wavered between depression and elation that this was really happening. One Euro-goth insisted on singing every lyric to me while he made spooky faces. I had crafted a homemade Cure sign that said “Just Heavenly” (truth) and I held it up while I cried some more. Robert Smith totally saw it and mouthed “thank you” in my direction. That got me into Micheal-Jackson-overseas-style hysterics.
The epic band played a really long intro to one song and Robert Smith made his rounds to every freaky fan in the front row outstretching their hands for some love. I nearly stepped on the man in the wheelchair to make myself tall, so I, too, could touch this unlikely god of my teenage dreams. When our fingers met, I was electrified. Electrocution then turned into an immense feeling of regret that I had nothing for him. All these years leading up to this moment and no flowers! No nothing! Thinking fast, I tore off my handmade shirt like I was at a fucking Tom Jones concert and threw it onstage. It sailed by his face. My shirt sailed by Robert Smith’s face! That’s almost, like, making out.
The next hour and a half I sat in the front row in my bra, which made the concert feel very intimate. I was so overcome by emotion, I didn’t care I was missing a shirt, or that my boyfriend and best friend had left or that there was a weird goth in my face. There was an encore I remember, and I sat waiting, while the stadium cleared out for a second or third encore that never came.
Shortly after this experience, I lost interest in the Cure and moved onto the Smiths.