ON MEETING ROBERT SMITH

Right about the time I released “The Way I Feel” from the It’s My Sin Album, I was asked to be the support act for The Cure.

It would be by far the biggest audience I had ever played to date, and it was quite nerve wracking during the lead up to this show.

Not to mention just how many people said to me “Do you think you will meet Robert Smith?”

Some people are just so beyond celebrity. They are just brimming with the famous juice and it makes people go weak at the knees at the thought of being in their presence. Robert Smith is one of these people.

The Cure dates down under

The Cure dates down under

I have dined out often on my story of meeting Robert Smith. It was a surreal experience and if it wasn’t for someone else being present when it all happened, I might just disbelieve the story myself.

A few days before the show I remember hearing someone plugging the concert on a local commercial radio station and the ‘jock’ said “….and support for the Cure is someone from Switzerland or something called “Yan Hareegal”.  Here is his song, “ The Way I Feel”.

I still believe that I received so much support from local radio stations at this time because they thought I was from an exotic country.  Once Warners started advertising my album as local and using the angle that I was a “Westy” then the radio support started to wane. But it was a lot different in the early 90’s – New Zealand music was relegated to the bottom of the CD shop bins and although there was an amazing amount of great indie music being made it just wasn’t on the airwaves.

I am not too sure if this had changed at all but that is another story. Anyway, back to Mr Smith.

On the night we arrived back stage at Mt Smart stadium to find a glossy, fabulous cream and brown caravan and it was all for us, the support band. Inside the caravan was a small rider of beer and whiskey and a lovely Formica table, which we spent much of the four hours of that show evening around that night.  I felt like I was in heaven.

The band that night was Wayne Bell (Drums), Tony Lumsden (Bass Guitar) and Mark Bell (Lead Guitar) and a couple of friends and girlfriends tagged along too.

Everyone was mildly excited about the prospect of meeting Robert Smith, but being so young and self absorbed myself at the time, it didn’t matter as much to me.

It was an exciting night though. I was sick with worry about playing a good gig. I wanted to be great, and started warming up about 3 hours in advance.

Before any show there is usually a lot of gentle joking and laughing that goes on. I remember we all had a few whiskeys and did the usual “sit around and talk absolute bullocks” while the time passes.

As call time for our slot approached, everyone in our caravan except Wayne Bell and I cleared out – the band to check their gear on the stage was ok, the others to get ready for the show.

Wayne and I were blathering on about something…I can’t recall what… and wouldn’t you know it, Robert Smith poked his head in the door and said “Mind if I come in?”.

We didn’t mind.  Wayne, Robert and I sat around that Formica table, having a whiskey and chewing the fat. He asked us a bit about our music and a little about this and that, drained his glass, said “Have a great gig”, and left.

The rest of the troops arrived back and we chimed, “you will never believe this but Robert Smith was just here.” You won’t believe the cries of disbelief and disappointment, or then maybe you would.

We went on stage and we really did have a good gig. It was one of the highlights of my performing career.  Afterwards we went back to the caravan and hooped and hollered about what a great gig we had.

And then everyone except Wayne and I decided to go out the front and try to get a good possy to watch The Cure play.  Wayne and I were continuing to blather on over our Scotch and wouldn’t you know it – Robert Smith poked his head in the door and said “Mind if I come in..?.” Again.

We said sure. And I remember having another Whiskey. Robert Smith told us that he enjoyed our show and thought our songs were great. He was incredibly supportive and very amiable.

We chatted about this and that. Now, I can’t remember exactly what this and that were, but I was really pleased that he enjoyed the set and it was one of those great moments in life where you glow with pride.

Then he said he had better get out there and get on stage and off he went. Wayne and jumped out of the caravan and went to listen to the show.  They were fantastic. The Super Top may not have been the most glamorous of places to watch The Cure, but they played so well and it was something that was very special to feel part of.

Afterwards Wayne Bell and I went straight back to the caravan. As soon as we sat down,

Robert Smith poked his head in the door and said “Mind if I come in again?”… again.

And we all had another whisky and then he said “Good night” and left.

Can you believe the reactions when we told everyone that Robert Smith had popped in to our caravan three times and they missed every single visit, it was like a scene out of a slap stick French comedy.

For years since I have had young Goths and Emos asking me “Is it true that you met Robert Smith” and I can say “Yes I did. Three times”.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cure