Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Cure: Trilogy

Back in 2002, Robert Smith and the Cure decided to record what was less a proper concert and more a historical document: live performances of three of their biggest and gloomiest albums from start to finish, without any flourishes (aside from an encore of two songs from a fourth album), in front of a sold-out crowd in Berlin. What emerged from this idea is arguably the ultimate Cure concert video, dark, musically brilliant, and with the whole band mostly just standing there sulking the whole time.

The three albums in question, Pornography, Disintegration, and Blood flowers (yes, plus a brief encore from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me), are considered by most fans to be high notes for the band, and while there are naturally plenty of songs from other albums that I would’ve liked to see them perform as well, what we get here is both pretty damn good, and pretty damn long (really, how many bands out there are willing to perform for three and a half hours?). Of course, your enjoyment is going to be pretty heavily predicated on whether or not you’re a big fan of the band, but fortunately for me they’ve been one of my favorites since high school, and to hell with all of you that don’t like them.

Of course, as mentioned before, there are some issues that I have with the concert, mainly involving the lack of visual variety on display. There’s little to no effort put into anything beyond playing the instruments or singing: the guitarists will occasionally walk around a bit, but always looking at their guitars the whole time like nothing else exists to them, and Smith occasionally does not-quite dances with his hands (such as on the song “Lullaby”, where he briefly imitates a spider crawling), but it stays as thoroughly basic as it can get. The non-band attempts at breaking up the visual monotony are pretty basic, mostly limited to lots of camera changes to capture the whole band and lots of multi-colored lights bathing the band. Having seen the band live before, I can confirm that this is exactly what they’re normally like in concert (the most exciting thing Smith did at that show was sit down on the stage halfway through a song like he was about to have a heart attack), and while their music is good enough to make up for such monotonous visuals, it would be nice to have at least a small amount of variety. I don’t ask you guys to be Marilyn Manson or anything, but give us something here!

While there’s really not much more to say about this, I will mention one thing here: that fairly high rating I gave it? That’s because I’m a huge fan of theirs. If you happen to dislike them, or only like some of their stuff (particularly if you mostly just like their poppier efforts), this is not the DVD for you. However, if you’ve read all the above and still feel intrigued, or you’re in high school and are just starting to learn how much fun it is listening to gloomy music and quietly hating everyone, then you should definitely check this out. You’ll be happy you did.

Rating: *** ½

P.S. The idea of a trailer doesn’t work for something like this, so here’s the first song from the concert:

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