9/21/1985 Sounds (9-12-85 London, England Show Review)
Head Boy The Cure/Hard Corps Wembley Arena
There's room at the top, but I'm late for an important date. Traffic trouble while Regine is motivating Hard Corps. And this is slightly embarrassing, because I bump into her from time to time in late night South London. The French are unforgiving, especially where the English are concerned. Merde...
Park, pay one pound, pass go and run along the outside of the Arena. It's alright, I can still hear Hard Corps' synth-dance in progress. Collapse through the door, minding the head, and the noise stops as a greeting. Oh.
But Dave Elliott is sitting among the thousands; so tell me what Hard Corps were like, Dave?
... Normally, the Cure follows a malaise, but what need is there of remedy when body and soul are bonnes santes and the beat is elite? Who are Hard Corps? Is it of consequence that they are foreign, slipping perhaps into an attractive gap once occupied by Kraftwerk? Who cares - Hard Corps are hard, and they offer a splendid kick to the solar plexus. Regine, in her red jacket, sings 'I Need To Breathe'. Don't we all...
A soothing interval to have a mulled whine over whether The Cure have become part of The Disease. I don't think so. Robert Smith is beyond the pale of the likes of Nik Kershaw or King. He makes Top Of The Pops watchable; turns it into a lipstick scarred, stubbly, greasy, shabby song of fear. Then...
God flips a switch and blows out the electric candles. 'The Baby Screams' and so do the audience. I'm slightly amazed that The Cure can fill this Arena, but not for long. Before the man with the untucked shirt and volcanic hair can sing "Strike me dead," the hall is alive with a rush stagewards, with unbridled enthusiasm. This is a sign of the times.
The Love Cats - no they didn't twitch that whisker - will only experience one night like this. The show is a zenith of sorts for The Cure, but they aren't revelling in the cream of adulation.
Right now the band are walking the thin line between stadia-shit, the compromise of grand rockist gestures that so often entails, and the need to air their sins seriously. Robert seems well aware of this. He wants to speak to us, he says, but isn't very good at talking, anyway, so he'll just leave it.
The Cure's attitude is still intact, they are taking perverse pleasure in not becoming clowns in the circus of mega-entertainment. I stand on a seat and get knocked off by a transported dancer, but it doesn't matter. Bodies in the arena are in perpetual motion though, paradoxically, there is little movement on stage bar an introverted wagging of tails. The sound is immense and tightly woven; sails in twilight, and that's all that's necessary tonight.
An odd thing: I couldn't tell you the names of the rest of The Cure and it's my job to know such facts. There is something faceless about the band aside from the ragged, broken puppet of Smith. This works to the outfit's advantage: egos down and heads buried in the noise.
And most of that was fine and made me forget about my backache and the little girl gnawing with sharp teeth on my knee-cap because she couldn't see. There wasn't really much to be seen, anyway, just five figures in stark lighting.
But there was plenty to be heard, and I'd ignore any tendency towards occasional ponderous pomposity of sound simply to catch a pop song as emotionally enchanting as 'In Between Days'.
There is room at the top for The Cure so long as they monitor The Disease.
- Jack Barron