Rotterdam Harbour Documentary 1981

This may not be common knowledge, but The Cure once officially contributed music to a documentary about the port of Rotterdam. It could very well be that the band themselves have forgotten about this. The story goes that two Dutchmen working on the film took a boat to England, probably in the winter of 1980/81, and had a meeting at The Cure’s Fiction label offices in London to discuss music for the documentary. For a fair price they bought a tape of new music by The Cure to use.

At that time the band were working on the Faith album. It turned out that the tape for the documentary included songs that later ended up on that album. It is not easy to hear, but my guess is that these are advanced (instrumental) demos. Possibly almost final backing tracks. The songs in question are The Funeral Party (at approx. 5:30), The Drowning Man (at approx. 14:15) and All Cats Are Grey (at approx. 19:00 and 21:20 throughout the end credits). The Drowning Man seems to be in a different key or tempo. But that may have been done by the filmmakers.

As for the documentary itself, it is a kind of promotional film for Rotterdam’s harbour. People in various positions at the port talk about their work. With today’s eyes, it may seem a little strange how this particular music could be relevant to the subject of the documentary. But I think it fits the era well. The documentary was broadcast on Dutch public television. You can watch it (or at least part of it) here.


Inge Bekkers Photography

Robert Smith at the Eindexamen Festival in Den Bosch (1984), photo by Inge Bekkers.

Inge Bekkers is a Dutch photographer and graphic artist. In the 80s, she photographed dozens of pioneering alternative and underground bands live. This year, Inge opened up her archives and started posting photos on her website. What has emerged is truly amazing. She seems to have been in the right place at the right time. The visual evidence of these legendary concerts is already great, but the composition and atmosphere of the photos make them works of art in themselves.

The biggest surprise for me are the wonderful pictures of The Cure live at the Eindexamen Festival in Den Bosch on 30 May 1984. This show is well documented in terms of sound, but I don’t remember seeing any pictures of it before. Quite unique. Inge’s website is worth an extended visit. Her photos of Siouxsie & the Banshees at the first Pandora’s Music Box Festival in Rotterdam in 1983 (with Robert Smith on guitar), are also gorgeous. And please check out the ones of Clock DVA, Dead Can Dance, Fields of the Nephilim, Front 242, The Klinik, The Mission, Skinny Puppy etc. etc. …

Amsterdam Ziggo Dome – 25 November 2022

Robert Smith at Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, 25 November 2022. Photo by Aaron Law.
Robert Smith at Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, 25 November 2022. Photo by Aaron Law.

While I am still processing memories from those wonderful European concerts of last autumn, The Cure already have new tour dates in North America on the horizon. So, maybe time for a look back on that special Cure night at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam on 25 November 2022.

When the ‘Cure Tour Euro 22’ was announced in December 2021, it was far from certain if it could go ahead. Due to the pandemic, bands constantly had to reschedule or cancel concerts. The Cure too had challenges in the planning of this tour. In December 2022, just before the final date of the tour, an interesting article about these challenges appeared in IQ, the news platform for the live music business. It features interviews with Cure UK booking agent Martin Hopewell, his team and several European promoters. Apparently, at one point they had planned six different time schedules, routes and associated venues as options. Among them there was an outdoor variant in the summer of 2022. It would pass beautiful parks, lakes, stadiums and castles, in case there still would be indoor restrictions.

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Rotterdam Ahoy 1992

The Wish Tour ran from mid-April to early December 1992, during which The Cure performed 111 concerts. I think it was the biggest tour the band ever did dedicated to one album.

When they arrived in Europe in the autumn, The Cure had already performed 65 shows across the UK, North America, Australia and New Zealand that year. Not surprising if tour fatigue had set in a bit by then. It seems like you can kind of see that on videos of these shows. Bassist Simon Gallup would drop out of the European leg for a couple of weeks due to illness. Shelleyan Orphan bassist Roberto Soave would temporarily replace him. But in Rotterdam Gallup was still there. However, the band would play slightly shorter shows by Cure standards, at least in the Netherlands. Just over two hours, with fewer songs in the encores.

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Wish – the Dutch release

First Dutch Wish cd edition in numbered cardboard slipcase and contest insertThe Cure just announced a deluxe reissue of their ninth studio album Wish in celebration of its 30th anniversary. The initial Dutch cd edition, released in April 1992, came in a numbered cardboard slipcase. It contained an insert about a contest from the Dutch branch of The Cure’s record company Polydor. With the number of your copy, you could win a trip for two to New York to attend The Cure’s concert at the Giants Stadium, flight and hotel included. You could also win other prizes, such as box sets, hand-printed shirts and tickets for one of The Cure’s upcoming shows in the Netherlands.

In June 1992 Polydor placed an ad in music magazine OOR with the winning numbers. Noteworthy is that The Cure would not play at the Giants Stadium at all that year. They had opened the North American leg of their Prayer Tour there in 1989. So maybe that venue was originally scheduled for the Wish Tour as well. But in 1992 The Cure ended up playing two shows at another venue in New York, the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale. One show was at the beginning of the American tour in May and another one at the end in July. The insert mentioned that the record company reserved the right to offer an alternative destination. I wonder if the winner eventually went to the Nassau Coliseum in July (by the way, I didn’t win anything ;).


Curious Creatures

Just in case you missed it, or forgot about it along the way, this is to draw attention once more to one of the most enjoyable podcasts of the moment: Curious Creatures. It is hosted by two post-punk icons, Lol Tolhurst and Budgie. Lol is of course co-founder and former member of The Cure. He started on drums and later switched to keyboards. Budgie is best known as the fantastic drummer of Siouxsie & the Banshees. He also formed a side-project with Siouxsie called The Creatures. After many years, the two found each other again. They are now working on several projects, one of which is this podcast. If you are a fan of these bands, and of course you are, this is a podcast for you. Also when you are a drummer, like me, you will enjoy it for sure.

Generally, the podcast offers pleasant chats between Lol and Budgie and often a guest. They talk about subjects as music, subculture and life in general. The guest can be a contemporary, but also someone from a completely different era or background. Lol and Budgie have a good chemistry and talent for telling amusing anecdotes, that give further insight into the history of the bands they were in and themselves as persons.

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TROS Top 50 1980 – update

The Cure Play For Today TROS Top 50 1980In 2019, the TopPop Youtube account posted a high quality version of The Cure miming A Forest at the TROS Top 50 show. It was probably recorded at the beginning of July 1980. As it now appears, this 3’46” version of A Forest, broadcasted on Dutch television in August 1980, was a shorter edit from the full version as recorded and already broadcasted in July 1980. More spectacularly, the TopPop archivers found out that The Cure had mimed another song in July 1980. They opened the TROS Top 50 show with Play For Today!

A possible reason for this recording might be that the Dutch branche of Polydor Records had Play For Today in mind as a second single off the Seventeen Seconds LP. This, however, never happened.

As far as I know, this particular performance of Play For Today has never resurfaced since July 1980. I also can’t remember seeing it on trading lists in the past. So, sit back and take a moment to enjoy this true hidden gem, such as they rarely appear!

UPDATE: on 21 April 2022, Robert’s birthday, TopPop also posted the full 5’42” (album) version of A Forest in high quality.

Amsterdam 2022

Rumours were already circulating that The Cure would be touring Europe in the autumn of 2022. Dates in Paris and Germany leaked out. On Monday 6 December 2021 exactly at 12 noon (CET), the band officially announced that they will indeed be embarking on a tour throughout Europe next year. As of now, 44 shows in 22 countries are scheduled. One of the stops on the “Cure Tour Euro 22” will be the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam on 25 November 2022, where they also played on their last arena tour in 2016. Just like then, Scottish melancholic indie band The Twilight Sad will be supporting The Cure. It’s not the first time The Cure will be playing with the same support act as on previous tours. In the past, And Also The Trees and Cranes supported The Cure on several occasions.

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Rotterdam Ahoy 12 October 1996

On Saturday 12 October 1996, The Cure opened the European leg of their Swing Tour at the Ahoy’ Sportpaleis in Rotterdam. It was almost exactly four years after their last visit to the Netherlands. Quite a long hiatus for a band, especially in those days. A lot had changed in between, including the musical landscape. Some thought The Cure were the wrong band at the wrong time in 1996 (not me of course).

The changes also became apparent during the Swing Tour. Some shows were cancelled or moved to a smaller venue. Actually, I think Rotterdam was the first date on the tour only because of the cancellation of other shows (Budapest, Munich, Strasbourg?).

The only Dutch Swing Tour concert was far from sold out, while on the previous Wish Tour the band played two packed shows at the same venue (capacity approximately 10.000). This time around they covered the upper stands of the Ahoy with curtains. While the ticket mentioned otherwise, there was no support act.

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Tuschinski – Show

Recently, Time Out published a top 50 of the most beautiful cinemas in the world. Theater Tuschinski in Amsterdam, opened in 1921, is at number 1. Time Out describes it as an ‘elegant mash-up of art deco and art nouveau styles with sleek modernist touches’.

On 11 September 1993, Tuschinski was the scene for the screening of The Cure’s concert film Show, just before the release of this live album/video. There were several cinema screenings all over the world. But as far as I know, this was the only one in the Netherlands. Show captured The Cure on their successful Wish Tour in 1992. It was filmed over two nights in Auburn Hills, near Detroit, towards the end of the American leg.

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