I was able to watch The Cure live in concert last Monday night at AsiaWorld-Expo in Tung Chung with Dei and Jay. It was the first major concert I attended to — since Gary Valenciano’s performance during the Hong Kong Harbourfest 2003 — so it is something special.
By all means I am sure a lot of people would agree it was worth the money, it wasn’t exhilirating at all times. And it’s not all the fault of Robert Smith, Simon Gallup, Porl Thompson and Jason Cooper.
Disparity Among Ticket Holders
I managed to secure the cheapest ticket, worth HK$380, thanks to Dei. I guess scalpers could go home empty handed as tickets have probably never sold out. Our seat offered us a tiny view of the band although Smith’s signature moves and gothic outfit is still easy to pinpoint. A few meters ahead of us are those paying a little over HK$500 but I doubt if they ever had much advantage to those in the “general admission” section. If those folks paid two hundred bucks more, they’d be joining the crowd standing close to the stage and experience a different atmosphere that’s unmistakably more lively compared to us, who are like seated on our couch, watching the band on DVD via a brand-new entertainment system plus the ambience.
Size of Venue
I won’t bargain for what I don’t deserve but I guess the enormity of the venue deterred the audience from acting on a party mood. The sight of empty seats and covered blocks seemed to temper the crowd from strutting the old moves in apparent attempt to dance with nostalgia. If only the crowd was allowed to congregate at the middle of the venue, owners of cheaper tickets at the back of those 500s and 700s owners. It would have been a riot.
A huge television screen placed on the side would be a good idea so visitors from the backseat don’t have to confide into listening to the music. One major reason we went to the venue is because we wanted to see The Cure. But I guess our entrance fee wasn’t enough to see a non-microscopic view of the band.
I can only wish the atmosphere was like this (though the price would probably be too much for me!)
The bulk of the audience was supposed to be in their late 30’s or forties. Their presence could help trigger an outburst of collective energy they last shared as far back in their heydays or as recently as last weekend in Lan Kwai Fong. But it seemed that I didn’t see much of it. Maybe it’s because of the type of venue, unfamiliarity of many songs or the maybe the aging performers themselves.
Programming of Songs
Is it just me or the sequence of the songs need to be rearranged to suit the type of audience we have for the night? Lovesong was played during the first hour, Friday I’m In Love at the second. In between those popular songs are the lesser known ones from their albums dating back between 1979 (Three Imaginary Boys) to 2000 (The Bloodflowers). For every one popular song (“In Between Days”, “Lovesong”, “Friday I’m In Love”, “Close To Me”) are two/three unfamiliar sounding ones although the performance was unquestionably superb. The two encore performances were a fantastic way to end the night.
The Aging Band
At one point, Smith calmed down the semi-electric crowd “Please, please, quiet a bit”. The reaction was rather abrupt and everyone seemed to stare at the fabulous four on subsequent songs that aren’t too popular or at least rings a bell. In my observation, the audience isn’t inspired enough (see above captioned) to go wild in front of their idols. Neither was the band, with the exception of bassist Simon Gallup, who has consistently delivered an impressive stage presence. I have never watched their previous concerts even on television so I guess this is the way they treat the audience. Don’t get me wrong, Smith doesn’t have to dance before the crowd to impress. His presence is enough. And he’s already 48 years old ladies and gentlemen.
Nonetheless, this concert is a wonderful experience to me. Pete and Adie were there as well as Che, Benedict and Maya. Thank you The Cure for coming to Hong Kong and sharing your wonderful songs to us. It was a great 180 minutes listening to your live music!