In the mid ’80s there was a great little club halfway up Bridge Road in Richmond called Thrash and Treasure.
It had a skinny, darkened doorway and inside was dimly lit, except for a small dance floor that shone with swaying, jumping teenagers; all soaking up the coolest music from England, the US and even some local tunes that got people off their chairs.
A snippet from this newspaper in 1987 advertises the joint as open “Wed, Sat until 3am. Alternative dance – old favourites, new cults.” Perfect.
This vibrant, exciting little club wasn’t the first place I heard the Cure, but it was the first place I learned just how much songs like In Between Days, A Forest and The Caterpillar meant to me, particularly with the volume turned way up.
Seeing the Cure on Thursday night at a sold-out Rod Laver Arena brought the sights, smells and the sounds of that club – all those fantastic songs that helped shape my teenage years – flooding back. A mostly over-40s crowd looked like they knew the feeling. There was a lot of love in the room.
Founding member Robert Smith, flanked by bass player and second-longest serving member Simon Gallup, have created a musical bond over 35 years that’s more than stood the test of time. Joined by David Bowie’s former Tin Machine guitarist Reeves Gabrels, keyboardist Roger O’Donnell and drummer Jason Cooper, the Cure in 2016 play a staggering three-hour show crammed with genuine hits and, for many, fond memories.
Early in the show Pictures of You, from 1989’s Disintegration album, and Smith had already taken the main focus; his distinctive ghostly white face, red lips and shock of wild black hair as quintessentially the Cure as any fan could hope to see.
Lesser known tracks Closedown and A Night Like This soon followed before the seminal electronic mix of The Walk blasted off the stage, coloured lights bathing the crowd as Smith and thousands of smiling fans sang: “We walked around the lake, And woke up in the rain.” Forty years after he formed the Cure, Smith’s voice showed no signs of faltering this night. Did I mention the band played for three hours? Incredible.
Inbetween Days (from 1985’s The Head on the Door album) brought a huge, joyous roar that was equalled only – in the first hour anyway – by the perfect pop of Friday I’m In Love.
Midway through the show Lovesong and Just Like Heaven lifted the euphoric feeling around the stadium another notch. People danced, sang, remembered when they’d first heard this line or that line, that drum beat or keyboard sound. Did I mention there was a lot of love in the room?
Four encores that lasted as long as the first hour and a half of the show included A Forest, Lullaby, Let’s Go To Bed, Close To Me, The Lovecats, Why Can’t I Be You? and Boys Don’t Cry.
The Cure don’t need to play such long shows, they do it because fans enjoy the whole experience.
And if the start of this extraordinary night felt like a trip down memory lane, the second half was more like the party you want to be at today.
© Martin Boulton & The Sydney Morning Herald