The Cure @ Hollywood Bowl 2023-05-24
I was going to let this one go but the version up on Dime is missing a song.
It was another date night, and I also had edibles, homemade and much stronger than expected. The wind was bugging again and I could barely keep the mics mounted, more due to the substances coursing through my system than any technical problems. And you only have some other taper to blame for giving me infused treats to capture his avant garde favorites, where a heavy dose of THC is a must for endurance.
This tour was a little controversial in my digital neighborhood from all ends to the people who think just because they are fan they are entitled to be one of the 15,000 inside out of the 25,000 who wish they were at either the lowest price possible or the highest, outbidding everyone else in the process. And the brokers who think feel entitled to grab all the tickets and charge whatever they want for them to Michael Rapino who was a bit inconvenienced but would rather suck it up and play along and maybe give some money back than let AEG book the tour.
Reeves Gabrels might be my favorite guitar player ever, not just his work with David Bowie (and I still maintain "Outside" is my favorite album of his) but his solo album "Ulysses" is particularly spectacular. Though his work with The Cure is a bit more restrained to that particular style, I was very happy for him when he landed this gig. And I wish I had something resembling an adult income when he was doing his regular residency at the Baked Potato where I would see the show, eat a massive spinach potato topped with jalapenos smothered with Tabasco sauce and then walk the 5 miles home to get up in 4 hours and go to work. Was only able to manage that a few times but if it were ten years later I would go to every single one and Lyft it out of there.
Speaking of good gig eats, it wouldn't be a Hollywood Bowl show if it didn't have a fair amount of wrapper crinkling thanks to the Bowl's infamous BYO policy and my love of hot peanuts and addiction to infused edibles. I tried to secure to my mics to a mask under a hoodie because these mics don't like even the slightest breeze but didn't quite work the way it used to especially with me stuffing my fat face all night.
There were T shirt kiosks crammed into corners I had never seen them before and every line like Space Mountain 4th Of July. The price? $25! Only 3 or 4 with simple designs as not to overwhelm the senses, and credit card. I don't think they cost that much since the 1990's. I never buy arena shirts but I still had to get one for my dearly neglected. Already seeing these shirts everywhere now. I doubt KISS sells as many in November as The Cure did on a Wednesday night. Wouldn't be surprised if they can even best regular merch sales record holders Iron Maiden in equivalent venues. I bet The Cure would even be undercutting the bootleg guys outside selling for $20 if the Bowl and LiveNation's hefty fees allowed.
Being date night with a traditional buy your tickets a year in advance and pay for parking patron, and I did what I almost never do anymore and buy advance in the fan to fan exchange so she would have something to look forward to, and crossed my fingers they wouldn't be canceled. I paid $192.40 for the pair, beating my record high of $40 to get into Pasadena Daydream. I got the dreaded U31 error on the first try but switched to another browser and pulled them again, but unfortunately was logged into my (former) business buy account so I was a little nervous because for a while I was spending an amount that seems so unreal to me still, even now. All that was left active were stacks of Matchbox Twenty that were sold or refunded in early 2020 for a tour that just kicked off a few weeks ago.
If anyone knows Michael Rapino, tell him to get his IT guys on that error. Not everyone says @#$%& it and buys in the lot day of show like I do. He may be rich but it's Never Enough and he can always use more so there is no reason regular fans with money to spend should be denied tickets they took the time to try to purchase. People are missing shows and his $122 million payday could be a little higher if he can take these customer complaints seriously and fix this constant issue.
There is so much I can say about Robert Smith's ticketing policy, especially since I am of the opinion "my ticket, my money, my property" but that opinion has evolved a bit with this tour and I can't really say I am unsatisfied with how it worked out. On it's face it looked fair to everyone and those looking to profit were sufficiently warned. Now those regular fans who had their tickets canceled might think different. It's all algorithmic, it's not like they were using a secret list of known offenders. For example, if you go to a lot of shows and have eclectic tastes you are eventually going to get your tickets canceled for something in addition to never getting the verified fan codes.
Now Eddie Vedder did the same no transfer and fan to fan resale for his YouTube Theater show. When it half sold, he lowered the prices while previously purchased tickets listed for resale were locked into the price floor at the original price, twice what even closer seats were eventually listed for. Or Ed Sheeran, notorious for inconveniencing fans in addition to resellers with his spurious ticket verification checks for secondary purchased tickets outside venues where they would cancel the tickets on the spot and resell them. Now I am getting regular notifications of discount Ed Sheeran tickets from stadiums across the continent. In a kinder, gentler era where the free market reigned it would be the third parties assuming some of the promoter's risk and taking those losses. But this tour sold out 100% instantly and any unwanted tickets had the auto refund built in because tickets resell the second they are listed on the Fan To Fan exchange, unlike Eddie Vedder where that money spent was lit on fire.
I know I get always get a clueless knee-jerks from drooling mouthbreathers when admitting to the cardinal sin of selling a sacred ducat for more than face value, especially on The Cure Reddit where I got multiple accounts banned for harassment for merely explaining how the business works from my perspective. Maybe one of those folks can answer this simple question, if I don't even qualify for housing anymore, why should I care what someone spends on a concert ticket? Or better yet, will anyone in Glendale or Burbank, California who bought their house 2010 or earlier sell it to me for what they paid? The worst is thinking of life without teeth because after three decades of neglect, once I hit the tipping point I was able to go to the dentist I liked and say do what you gotta do then just paying the bill. Still my biggest splurge, spending more than my Ireland and Finland trips combined. So what if you spent $40 more than me for a pair to Dancing With The Stars.
Right now if it's not The Cure, Taylor Swift or K-Pop, pretty much everything is $10 or so day of show. Prices fall so hard, so fast I am legitimately worried brokers will start going bankrupt and stop bulk harvesting inventory leading to the collapse of the secondary market and Ticketmaster might actually become an almost monopoly.
For those of you still looking for tickets, keep in mind there is no guest list and Robert Smith is personally handling sales to friends and family but god forbid any of Bob's friends have to pay a very fair price to see this show, and anything still unsold goes back to Ticketmaster and even the box office day of show where my friends were getting Garden Boxes out the window for all three shows.
Enough about tickets, now that the cat is out of the bag how I funded my all concerts all the time lifestyle for so long, I hope to tell that story someday. The secondary market is not what you think it is. And with the exception of Ebaying my Inland Invasion 2003 ticket for rent money because I couldn't get a ride, I have never sold a single ticket for The Cure. For more on that subject I highly recommend the Bob Lefsetz podcast interviews with both Ticketmaster founder Fred Rosen and current LiveNation chairman, the aforementioned Michael Rapino who talks a bit about this tour.
Nice to see a few classic Reeves style solos on "A Night Like This" (replacing the sax solo on the original) and "From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea" especially with the absense of "Wrong Number" and "Yesterday's Gone" in the set. I know they are keeping a dividing wall between his projects but I sometimes wonder how David Bowie's "The Motel" would sound interpreted by this band.
The music itself was nothing short of divinely inspired and perfectly delivered but the backlighting and inefficient use of screens means you can pretty much get a seat anywhere in any building and it won't really matter. Sit in the back row, eat an infused chocolate and enjoy the sights and sounds even if you don't see much of the actual people onstage. I liked the 2016 visuals better with Reevesvision on the left jumbotron all night. Got to hear at least some of my favorites though I have soft spot for my first ever purchase "Wild Mood Swings" but they do play "Want" some nights, if not this one. Got "Disintegration," "A Night Like This," "From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea" as well as many yet to be released songs that are meant more than sending people to the loo or for more underpriced merchandise. Robert Smith believes in them enough to put them in the set every night and should be given the same attention as the classics you, if not me, grew up with. He still takes his craft seriously in addition to the business.
There are likely better recordings, even of the same night, and as is often the case this serves as more of a vehicle to tell my story than just kicking another show out there for the obsessive compulsives to put on a soon to crash hard drive without ever hearing.
I was planning on going the last night and splurge on a garden box if possible but I did have a free show by Kara Jackson on my calendar and though I had yet to hear a note, I sampled a song and decided to save myself the cash. It was worth it to spend, but the Bowl is just a bit too much to deal with three nights in one week. Foot, car, shuttle, there is just no easy way to get out of there.
And I will leave you with a link to my most played song by The Cure, which would likely blow at least a mind or two if it returns to the set.
HOLLYWOOD, CA @ HOLLYWOOD BOWL
SP-CMC-4U -> A10 -> Soundforge -> FLAC
03. Pictures Of You
05. And Nothing Is Forever
06. If Only Tonight We Could Sleep
07. A Fragile Thing
10. Another Happy Birthday
11. A Night Like This
13. Play For Today
14. A Forest
15. From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea
17. I Can Never Say Goodbye
18. It Can Never Be The Same
20. At Night
23. Six Different Ways
24. The Walk
25. Let's Go To Bed
26. Friday I'm In Love
27. Close To Me
28. In Between Days
29. Just Like Heaven
30. Boys Don't Cry