In 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!
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.
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.
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.
There’s a new Dutch book out which also contains a chapter about The Cure. It’s called Popparadijs Nederland, written by Tom Steenbergen. Tom was, among other things, product and marketing manager at Polydor, the former record company of The Cure. He did a lot of promotion for Seventeen Seconds in the Netherlands.
The book is a collection of stories about well-known international artists from the 60s, 70s and 80s, who used the Netherlands as testing ground for their international careers. The chapter about The Cure is 7 pages, including photos. Tom tells some interesting personal anecdotes. For instance, about his idea to release a second single off Seventeen Seconds (Play For Today) in the Netherlands. This appeared to be not entirely in line with the band’s views. We all know it didn’t happen, but I’m curious what song would have been on the flip side…
Other artists featured in the book include David Bowie, Blondie and Kate Bush.
2020 marks the 40th anniversary of the second Cure LP Seventeen Seconds. A pivotal release for the band. With this album, they started to define their own unique sound and style. It is remarkable how fast the band produced the album. The recording only took about one week. The same goes for the mixing by Robert Smith and producer Mike Hedges.
If I’m right, Seventeen Seconds was the first Cure LP that was also being pressed in the Netherlands especially for the Dutch market. The manufacturing took place at the Polygram Record Service (PRS) plant in Baarn, not very far from Amsterdam. The outer sleeve was almost the same as the UK pressing. But the labels on the record itself were standard red Polydor labels, unlike the printed UK labels, which were in the same style as the sleeve artwork. This was probably to reduce costs.
A bit late, but still before the end of the year and also of the decade, so I thought to be just in time for a look back at the final Cure gig of the 2010s in the Netherlands. Actually, it would be the last of only three Dutch shows in the past 10 years!
Until mid 1980 The Cure had only enjoyed some ‘underground’ TV coverage in the Netherlands. Alternative youth magazine NEON had showed live footage from New Pop ’79 in Rotterdam and a bit of the concert at the Melkweg in Amsterdam in December of the same year. In April 1980 The Cure made their first Top of the Pops appearance. Maybe this would sort of set the tone for their future music chart TV performances. Slightly bored, not trying too hard to playback in sync and make a bit of a joke out of it. This definitely applies to The Cure’s Dutch music chart TV debut, A Forest at the TROS Top 50 show.
The TROS Top 50 was the hit parade from broadcasting association TROS between 1978-1985. Every Thursday it was on the radio and every two weeks there was also a TV show. I think the latter only during summer when Toppop (the most popular music TV show at the time) was on leave. Because of the pillarisation in the Netherlands you had several charts and broadcasts, which can be confusing. Anyway, probably at the beginning of July 1980 The Cure flew in to do a mime performance of A Forest at the TV studios in Hilversum, just before the single got its Dutch release. Maybe that’s why they used the album version as playback tape. Today, exactly 39 years after it was broadcasted, that historical performance has been published again on YouTube. It was already online, but not yet in this very good quality, which makes it quite special. Watch it here!
Update April 2020: here’s a full version (uploaded October 2019, quality not as good as on the TopPop account, but nice to see the full performance).
On March 27th 1981 The Cure’s new 7″ single Primary was released in the Netherlands. It was the first and only single off the upcoming Faith LP. In those days The Cure didn’t do a lot of music chart TV programmes yet. They had only done a mime performance of A Forest for TROS Top 50 in 1980. But that TV show ended later that year.
Star Club was sort of a follow-up programme from the same broadcasting association. It had a slightly broader concept, also presenting current trends, items about films and interviews. Star Club debuted at the beginning of 1981. If I’m right it only lasted one year or maybe even only one season.
Probably sometime during March or (beginning of?) April 1981 The Cure flew in to Holland to do a mime performance of their new single for Star Club. A great recording of that pretty rare performance recently resurfaced on YouTube. It is dated 27 April 1981 but I guess that must be the broadcasting date. You can watch it here. And here you can read more about The Cure’s quick visit in a nice interview Muziek Expres did with the band on the very day of the show.
At their annual press conference, last Wednesday at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, Pinkpop announced The Cure as one of the headliners of the three-day oldest festival in the Netherlands. Though initially everything seemed to indicate that the band would play there this year, I guess it still came as a bit of a suprise.
Last year there were strong rumours that The Cure would be part of the 50th (!) anniversary line-up. I always thought they should be. If only because of their legendary 1986 headline slot, which ‘saved’ the festival according to many. But when, in September 2018, The Cure announced a gig in Dublin in the same (Whitsun) weekend as Pinkpop, it suddenly became less likely. In November 2018 Pinkpop even explicitly denied all rumours. But apparently and luckily Pinkpop and the band still found a way to make it happen.
The Cure will play on Sunday 9 June. This will be their third Pinkpop performance. The others being at the 1986 and 2012 editions (the latter was Bowie guitarist Reeves Gabrels’s debut gig with the band).
As this decade comes to an end, I realise that The Cure (will) have only played three Dutch gigs during the 2010s, strangely enough two of which at Pinkpop. It shows how rare it has become to see the band play live in the Netherlands these days.
So here is your chance 😉 The presale starts on Saturday 16 March at 10:00am.