Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Very Merry Curemas! (Parts 1-2)

Part 3 |Part 4

Part 1
- Trepidation!

When I first heard about tickets for Last Call with Carson Daly, way back in November, my first thought was that it had the potential to be another Soundstage fiasco. For those of you who missed that one, the Cure were supposed to play an intimate taped show for Chicago's Soundstage program in June 2008. Much to my chagrin, the show not only did NOT happen, but it was denounced by Robert on the Cure's website as proof that the only source for legitimate Cure news was on their site.

So, there I sat, in the middle of November, just a few months after that experience, with yet another event that not only had NOT been confirmed by Robert on the official site, but had the potential to be even less of an experience than Soundstage. And yet, I jumped, again, on the opportunity, figuring that if it really did fall through then at least we would have a nice weekend in LA with some friends, but this time, I was richly rewarded for my Cure fan optimism. I was asked several times if I was really going for "just three songs" at the Carson Daly taping, and each time I would reply "No, I'm also going down there to hang out with some wonderful Cure friends." This is the thing that came true the most for the whole weekend!

Being an optimist, again, I booked our airline tickets to come in very early on Friday morning and then to leave later on Sunday, leaving the Saturday night open for, well, whatever was going to happen! Suddenly, it WAS confirmed, and we began hearing rumours about the KROQ show, other tapings and appearances and very shortly, the weekend began to solidify into a veritable festival of Curemas!

Part 2 - Carson Daly Taping

The weeks flew by, and then suddenly it was time to go to LA! We dispatched our children to their grandparents' house, our dog to my sister's pet resort, and then I stayed up all night anxiously awaiting our very early morning flight to California while Sean got just a few hours sleep. I woke him at 5 am to go to the airport, and after a quick nap on the plane we arrived at the Long Beach airport just after dawn on Friday the 12th.

Once we arrived in Burbank, a fast but excellent breakfast at Theresa's Restaurant prepared us for the long day's wait in line. Cure friends old and new greeted us as we settled in, and we passed the time in line by chatting, taking photos and video and generally milling about. The Cure fans in line that I had met in person before the Carson Daly taping included my special Cure pirate sister, Sugar*Girl, the inimitable Cat, the lovely Chris and the quietly brilliant Crowbi Wan, and these were soon joined by people I had long chatted with, like SaraB, AndytheCurefan, Amber and Cure Heart and those I had long heard about but never met, such as KittenCult, Midnight, Yvonne, Kat, and the sweet and talented guys from the Curse.

In preparation for this day, I had made some special long-sleeved tee shirts in my Nightmare before Curemas design in order to give them to the band and those around them. I frankly had no idea how I was going to convey them to the band, but as with many things, I figured that the Universe would provide a way if it was meant to be. About halfway through our day of waiting, I had brought out some of my shirts in order to give them to those who were asking about them, when almost on cue, a gentleman appeared in the parking lot and I was informed that this man was Keith Uddin, the producer for the Cure. I approached him and asked if I could give him one of my shirts, and when I told him that I had made them for the guys, he offered to bring them in to them. He asked me at the time if I wanted him to get one of them signed and bring it back out, but I did not want to bother him if he was busy, so I said he didn't need to.

As the day wore on in the line, more and more people joined, and it began to grow ever colder and darker. Two men came out with a small camera and interviewed several fans in line, particularly those who had camped out the night before. I'm still not certain why they were videoing, but maybe someday we will find out. The line grew longer and the night grew ever chillier, until at long last, an assistant from the show came along to check our tickets against a list of names.

We passed through a metal detector screening and then were allowed to line up along a series of benches next to the studio wall. We could hear the soundcheck as we waited with ever greater anticipation for what was ahead of us. Finally, we were allowed into the studio and were directed to our seats by the various assistants. We were informed that we were to be the studio audience for two night's tapings. There was a comedian who was the entertainment for the studio audience and who tried his best to keep us laughing when he knew we were all there for the Cure!

We sat through an interview of an actress which was the first night's show, and then the stage was prepared for the eggnog chug challenge. Sean got called out of the audience right at this time and he was worried that he would have to do the eggnog chug. However it turned out that his role was just to make a fool of himself for everyone's entertainment :D and yes, he really did win a Subway card with $5 on it when he "won" the dance-off.

After the Eggnog challenge, Carson interviewed Will-I-Am and I thought this was really interesting, as I very much like him, being introduced to his work through the songs he produced for the Obama campaign.

FINALLY, the rest of the taping was over, and the lucky people on the floor were allowed to go and stand in front of the stage. The stage hands started clearing the floor for the audience, and some people were allowed in who had been waiting outside. Then just a few rows of the studio audience were allowed down onto the floor. We ended up very close to the stage on Porl's side! Then the Cure came on and of course the magic was in the air. The band sounded brilliant, very edgy and tight! Robert's voice was very smooth and he seemed to be in a great mood, making lots of eye contact with the crowd and watching the bleachers just beyond the floor audience. One bad moment came about halfway through the taping when an extremely rude person pushed his way right into the front of a bunch of us who had been there since the beginning! That was some seriously bad karma there, so I hope whoever you are dude, you got what was coming to you!

Since we were in front of Porl, we got a great appreciation for his guitar work, especially during Sleep When I'm Dead. He was really shredding it up, and I have no idea how he doesn't fall over during performances with his high heels on! Since we were so close to the front I got to see how Robert taps his foot on his toe while he plays and other details that you can't tell from a concert setting. He has some ginormously large boots and I noticed during the weekend's events that he was wearing cargo-style trousers with a very dark camo print on them, and of course his big black shirts with the stars around the left chest pocket. It's such a surreal experience to be so close to the band that you could literally reach out and touch them, you begin to notice so much that you miss, even on television. I could see a lot of Porl's tattoo details, and noticed that his hands are very decorated, it reminded me of the henna patterns that people get on their hands in India. A photographer at the KROQ concert on Sunday noticed this same thing too, it seems.

It seemed like Robert was just getting into the groove when all of a sudden it was over! We screamed and stomped, and Robert leaned forward and shook a few hands, and I was worried that a couple of the more zealous fans were going to pull him down into the crowd because they grabbed his hand so hard. He managed to shake free, and they walked off stage, and then the audience was herded back out to the parking lot. As we filed out, I saw a few people off to the side of the backstage area talking to Keith Uddin, and when he spotted me he motioned for me to follow him. When I did, he showed me that he had actually gotten one of the shirts that I had made signed by the band! I was very much blown away by this, and by the time that I reached the parking lot, I was in complete tears, so Keith if you ever read this, thank you for not listening to this silly fan girl :D Thanks a million!

The rest of the night was taken up in the mundane tasks of obtaining food and checking into the hotel, and we will go on to Parts 3-4 for Saturday's events!