Review of The Cure: Trilogy
Label
Eagle Rock Entertainment
The Cure: Trilogy

Reviewed by Carlos Ramirez

I

n 1998, the Cure’s Robert Smith announced that he was working on material that would become the final part of a trilogy he started in the early ‘80s. After the unfocused and entirely forgettable Wild Mood Swings (1996), this was the exact news the Goth community was waiting to hear. Smith had gone on record saying that the records in the “trilogy” best illustrated the Cure’s sound and vision. The legacy started with Pornography (1982) and continued on the superb Disintegration (1989) album. Released in the beginning of 2000, Bloodflowers had all of the same characteristics as its predecessors: The gloomy vocal melodies, effect-pedal overloaded guitars, and Simon Gallup’s driving bass lines were all prominently featured, causing critics and fans alike to shower the album with praise. Entertainment Weekly, for instance, called it “one of the band's most affecting works.”

The newly released Blu-ray “Trilogy” documents “The Trilogy Concerts,” in which the three albums were played live in their entirety. “Trilogy” was recorded on two consecutive nights (November 11 and 12, 2002) at the Tempodrom Arena in Berlin. This is the kind of thing music geeks dream about, but outside of a handful of acts (Coheed & Cambria and Cheap Trick come to mind), it rarely happens. Things get off to a fine start with “One Hundred Years” and “A Short Term Effect,” and it’s obvious Smith and the band are keeping the performances as true to the original recordings as possible. Judging from the crowd’s fawning reaction, it seems like they made the right choice.

Most of the songs on Pornography haven’t been played in ages, so it’s a treat to finally see a stunner like “A Strange Day” in this package. The Disintegration set kicks off with the almost cinematic “Plainsong.” Roger O’Donnell’s keyboards envelop the arena in an ethereal haze that suits the material’s wide-scoping sound well. The set list also includes some of band’s biggest hits, with “Lullaby,” “Pictures of You,” “Fascination Street” and “Lovesong” all making appearances. Perry Bamonte’s guitars have a little more distorted kick to them in spots, but as with the previous performance, the Cure remains mostly faithful to the album sessions.

The Bloodflowers portion of the Blu-ray begins with the slow-rolling, acoustic guitar-led “Out of This World” and then goes into one of the band’s longest numbers, “Watching Me Fall.” On this epic, you catch Gallup giving his gold-top Gibson bass a workout reminiscent of New Order’s Peter Hook, with fluid runs countering Smith’s vocal melodies. Probably because this was their latest record at the time of the taping, this album translates the best out of the three performances, with the band firing on all cylinders.

“Trilogy” originally hit stores in 2003, but this Blu-ray re-release is a different beast altogether. I watched it in the dark in my TV room, and the concerts’ lightshows burst off the screen with a brilliant vibrancy only Blu-ray could pull off. Audiophiles will approve of the final mix, too; it strikes the ideal balance of shimmery keyboards and guitar with the bottom end of Gallup’s bass and Jason Cooper’s drums. If the point of a great live Blu-ray is making the viewer feel like they were actually at the concert, then “Trilogy” hits a home run.

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