Friday, June 19, 2009

Anuus Mirabilis - My year of miracles

The 12 months spanning May 2008 - May 2009 were undeniably the most pleasurably memorable stretch of 12 months in my entire life up to now. And although I will undoubtedly see the Cure many more times, the past year has been such an amazing collection of incredible experiences that it will be hard to top. It was, as the title of the post implies, an Anuus Mirabilis, a year of wonders, a year of miracles, a year where anything was possible.

I was just thinking about how this weekend will be a year since I saw the Cure on the Summer Solstice at Madison Square Garden, and how even at that moment I had NO idea what was to come in the months ahead. I realized that I haven't really written about it all, although there are bits and pieces here and there and so the idea for this blog post was born. After that show, I thought that was the end of my seeing the Cure for the year! But let's back up just a little and start over, and I apologize in advance that this will be a little long!

I've been a Cure fan since about 1984. It took me nearly 5 years to get to see them for the first time at Dodger Stadium on the Prayer Tour in 1989. For the 18 years between 1989 and 2007, I saw them a total of 9 times and considered that I was a lucky person to see them twice in both 2004 and 2007! Prior to 2008, I knew only a couple of the more "hardcore" fans very well and had traveled with them in 2003 and 2004 but had not really met that many other "diehards".

Then along came 2008.

I will start by saying that I've been a fan of the Chain of Flowers website since the late 90's, discovering it some time in 97 or 98, and checked it on an irregular basis. In the fall of 2001, after the first birthday of our daughter and after watching a terrible year's worth of bad news (I used to be a news junkie and actually had television in my house! Strange to think of, I know!) I basically thought to myself that the only news I cared to keep up with was news about the Cure.

So I switched my homepage on my browser from CNN to CoF, and there it stayed. A daily ritual of checking in with my favorite band and their comings and goings made for a peaceful and happy start to my day, as it still does. I was finally brave enough to send in a "Curespotting" in 2003 and started volunteering server space mirrors for the various audio and video files, but any involvement with the site was minimal. I watched though, always ready to hear about news of the Cure. I was REALLY happy when Craig decided to switch the format of the news to Blogger, but I don't think anyone really knew what that would mean for those of us that were fans of the site.

It began so slowly and grew so organically that would almost be hard to pinpoint when the comments on the blog began to take on a much greater meaning. The European shows were very time-offset compared to the US, so the catalyst was really when the Cure entered the US in May for the start of the US part of the tour. Each show setlist thread started to grow with commentary, and by the time that the 4-Tour reached Chicago, people from all around the world had started to tune in to the blog for the chance to chat with each other during the "live show" and comment on the set list as it arrived, and as the 4-Tour progressed, individual personalities began to emerge from the woodwork and interact with each other. Many of the people that would become important to my life later on in the year were those that I first met in the comments on the Chain of Flowers blog during the "show chats".

For our part, we started out with our original planned 2 dates to see them at Red Rocks and in Salt Lake City. We met the Cure just before their Salt Lake City show and I got my permanent autograph. We went to see them for the third time in 2008 in Sunrise, FL, and for the first time met some of the people that we had interacted with on the CoF blog.

Following the FL show, interacting with other people on CoF convinced and conspired to bring me to Madison Square Garden, where I recorded much of the soundcheck from an undisclosed location, then met a metric ton of Cure and CoF peeps and then got to the third row for an incredible show... and then thought that my Cure days for 2008 were done! The 4 Tour was officially over, and many of us that had met and interacted at shows and during the show chats were feeling a little, well, lost. So, the birth of the Meebo chat room was a direct result of the ending of the 4 Tour and the live show chats.

The rest of the summer and fall passed, mostly uneventfully, with the release of the rest of the singles and then the album release. I had passed the time by writing several Cure-related articles, and by designing another new teeshirt.

Then, on one otherwise uneventful evening in in November, it was less than two days before my 40th birthday when I got the news, the Cure were going to be taping shows in LA in December! I got the show tickets for the Carson Daly taping on Friday the 12th, and then when it was confirmed, we bought plane tix. However, we wouldn't be able to take enough time away to do the earlier show (Leno on Thursday the 11th) or the later taping (Jimmy Kimmel, on Monday the 15th) so I took a little bit of heat from my significant other over the idea that we were heading down to California for just one three-song concert. However, I asserted that since I was using the occasion as my 40th birthday present, it was my choice to go. Of course, this later turned out to be the best decision, like, ever, given that we just HAPPENED to be in LA for the now-legendary Secret Show at the Troubadour. And of course I got to give the Cure a batch of my Nightmare shirts and got a signed one back, (thank you so much forever, Keith!) but you can read about ALL of these adventures here, here and finally the actual 12:13 Dream show HERE.

The dust had barely begun to settle from the LA shows when the NME Awards were announced in London, and at first, I didn't even consider going. The economy was tanking, the holidays were just past, and everything was up in the air. The Coachella date wouldn't be announced until the end of January, and so it looked like the NME shows were the only game in town. Then more and more people were going, and the cost to go got smaller and smaller. Shared accommodation, shared transportation, meals at home, a week's pass for the Tube, reduced airfare due to the tanking economy and inexpensive show tickets sealed the deal, and before I knew it, I was spending a week in London. I got to see Tim Burton give Robert and the Cure the Godlike Geniuses award, and then stood at the front of the O2 Arena with 20,000 other people and a whole crowd of Cure peeps from all over the globe. Getting to see Stonehenge, Glastonbury, Bath, Avebury, Hyde Park, the Royal Albert Hall, Big Ben and scores of other sights with some of my favorite people on the planet just put the icing on the cake. These two shows marked the first time that I had ever traveled overseas for the Cure, and it was only due to the intense level of cooperation and coordination between a worldwide network of other fans that it even happened.

Speaking of Coachella, the Pearl show in Las Vegas just prior to the Coachella show had been announced while we were all in London for the O2 show, and you should have seen the panic when the US peeps realized that the announced ticket sale time was in the middle of the night in the UK! But of course we all took care of one another as we always do and eventually everyone had a ticket to what was hotly anticipated as the nearest thing to the Troubadour show that those who had missed it could imagine.

Somewhere in between the Troubadour show and deciding to actually go to London, I came up with the idea for the BOOK. Although the original plan was to give it to them at the NME awards, I think that the decision to wait and give it to them in April was the right one, as it really did allow a much greater level of participation and the end result was much more meaningful than it would have been, and I met so many amazing and wonderful fans through the project that it really took on a life of it's own.

So plans were made again and the fans converged on Las Vegas on one very warm weekend in April, and this time the reunion of the peeps was even more massive and heartwarming than the one before in London. Many CoF fans that had kept in touch via the Meebo chat were able to come together and for many, meet for the first time. We even managed to coordinate a group photo next to the Las Vegas sign! Although it was a disappointing ending that we now know was a bizarre fluke, the Pearl show rocked! And most of you know that story, as well as the incredible story of Coachella and some may have even read about the Belgian radio interview on Robert's 50th Birthday. The Other Voices book was successfully given to the Cure, and the hardcopy versions were created. Finally, on May 8th, 2009, the 30th anniversary of the release date of Three Imaginary Boys arrived.

And now sitting here in June of 2009, and looking back at those last 12 months, my heart is blown wide open with the amazingness of it all and how much everything has changed. I met the people that I've admired and loved for over a quarter of a century, in person, and have a permanent reminder of that day.

In the past 12 months I met more "diehard" Cure fans than I ever expected to meet. I've made some amazing friendships that I hope will be lifelong. Some of those are only now just beginning and others are deepening and becoming even more important, and there are even more people to meet and get to know better in the future.

I saw 10 shows in 12 months, and many of those have been with some of the most amazing people that I am now honored to call my friends. I've shared so many beautiful experiences with my wonderful husband, and had his solid support for those things that we could not share together.

And although these are not necessarily Cure-related, these events definitely added to the miraculous feel to the year. In August of 2008, I changed jobs to be in a much more supportive and appreciative environment. President Obama was elected in November of 2008, and later that month, I turned 40 years old. Over the week of Thanksgiving, we took our children on a family vacation and spent a week in the Florida Keys, where we were married in February of 2000 - it was the first time we had taken our children there. In April of 2009, I bought a VW Beetle, which has been my dream car for many years, and we took it on our big road trip to Vegas and Coachella.

Moving forward from now, I definitely consider the 12 months from May 2008 to May 2009 to be my Anuus Mirabilis, my most miraculous year to date. Thank you to the Cure for bringing us all together, and to everyone I've met and interacted with in the past year, thank you ALL for being the best Cure peeps on the planet!

Here are the blog posts that I've finished, there are several more to come, but it's going to be a little while until they are done, so I wanted to get this out sooner rather than later.

The Year of Miracles - 12 months - 10 shows

1. 4Tour - Red Rocks, Morrison, CO - Blog | Photos | Video

2. 4Tour - Salt Lake City, UT - Blog | Photos | Video

3. 4Tour - Sunrise, FL - Blog | Photos | Video

4. 4Tour - Madison Square Garden, NYC, NY Blog | Photos | Video

5. LA Shows - Carson Daly Show Taping, Burbank, CA - Blog | Photos | Video

6. LA Shows - Secret Show @ the Troubadour, W. Hollywood, CA - Blog 1, Blog 2 | Photos | Video

7. NME Awards - O2 Academy, Brixton, UK - Blog | Photos

8. NME Big Gig - O2 Arena, Greenwich, UK - Blog | Photos | Video

9. The Pearl Theater - Las Vegas, NV - Blog | Photos | Video

10. Coachella Festival- Indio, CA - Blog | Photos | Video