The Cure circa 1980s.
Sadly I was too young to have had hung out at the mythical Allston, Massachusetts club “Allston Underground” back when it was open for a blink of an eye from 1980-1981. Had I been born five or six years earlier I would have been able to tell stories about seeing bands like Bauhaus, Mission of Burma, New Order and The Cure who all played a gig at The Underground during their first U.S tours.
The Cure made their way to The Underground on April 20th, 1980 mere hours before Robert Smith was about to celebrate his 21st birthday. And since you only turn 21 once Smith decided to rearrange part of the lyrics to “Seventeen Seconds” from “seventeen years/a measure in life’ to “21 years/a measure of life” which he then dedicated to Boston punks Mission of Burma with whom they were sharing the bill. When it comes to musical folklore I have to say that this little insight sent my brain off to conjure up images of what the rest of the night was like offstage for birthday boy Robert Smith on the loose with his Imaginary Boys and Mission of Burma on the streets of my beloved hometown. Another interesting twist to this story that made my day is that according to the meticulous Cure-focused site The Cure: The Multimedia Experience parts of the show were shot by a few local Boston art students. Which during my research for the story turned out to include omnipresent Boston videographer Jan Cocker. If (like me) you think this enviable story sounds like a page out of a die-hard Cure fan’s dream diary then I’m with you. And getting into a dreamy kind of mood is great preparation when it comes to the footage you’re about to see.
The videos include some editing and special effects which I actually found added another layer of mystique to this early moment and in The Cure’s long career. And for the record—Smith sounds absolutely incredible especially during the track “Secrets” from the band’s album Seventeen Seconds which was set for release the day after Smith’s birthday on April 22nd, 1980. I’m going to go out on a big fat limb here and say it’s safe to assume it was great to be Robert Smith during those three days. I’ve got footage of The Cure performing four songs at The Underground—“Grinding Halt,” “Subway Song,” “Accuracy” and “Secrets.” I highly recommend watching a few other videos shot at the show here as it includes a show-stopping version of “Killing an Arab” as it must be seen.
The Cure hanging out at the wood-paneled Boston, Massachusetts club ‘The Underground,’ April 20th, 1980.
A ticket for the April 20th, 1980 show at ‘The Underground’ in Allston, Massachusetts for The Cure and Mission of Burma.
‘Grinding Halt’ live on April 20th, 1980 at ‘The Underground’ in Allston, Massachusetts.
‘Subway Song’ and ‘Accuracy.’
HT: The Cure: The Multimedia Experience