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.
This month a new book about The Cure called ‘A Perfect Dream’ by Ian Gittins was released through publishing company Palazzo. I have not read it yet. Just browsed through it. It looks like a nice, big coffee table kind of reference book. It also contains many beautiful (sometimes full page) photos, some of which I hadn’t seen before.
On page 70 there is a great full page picture of The Cure threepiece lineup in 1982 style, posing in front of a map on the wall (snippet on the left/above). I came to look at this map. The outlines of the neighbourhoods looked so familiar. Then I recognised some details and suddenly realised this is the city map of my hometown Utrecht! 😀 On page 83 there is a smaller picture also in front of this map which must be from the same session. Judging from the clothes and the location I suppose they are from the same shoot as the famous sculpture picture, probably on the eve of The Cure’s concert at Muziekcentrum Vredenburg in Utrecht on 10 May 1982. Maybe the pictures in front of the map were taken inside the Holiday Inn hotel? Picture credits: Gentlelook.
When I started this lazy blog one of the ideas was to write down the memories of my first ever Cure concert. Naturally this became a long-term plan. Now that it is already 30 years ago (the gig), I thought I should actually do it before things get even blurrier. So below is how I remember it or at least an attempt to reconstruct this life-changing event 😉
August 1987. It was summer holiday when I read an announcement that The Cure would be visiting the Netherlands on their upcoming European tour. They would be performing two shows at the Rotterdam Ahoy’ Sportpaleis: on Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th of November. The article said that in case of sufficient interest there would be an extra show on November 6th, which by the way didn’t happen.
It was also the first mentioning and picture I saw of keyboard player Roger O’Donnell, who had just joined the band.
There was no doubt – I had to go there! I hadn’t been able to attend the Pinkpop festival the year before, because I was way too young. I was still young. But I was not going to miss The Cure another time. Actually, it would also be my first concert ever by any band… Continue reading “Rotterdam 5 November 1987”
Today exactly 35 years ago The Cure played at the Vredenburg music centre in my hometown Utrecht. It was then and there where this well-known picture of The Cure was taken. However, I only realised this about ten years ago!
One day I was cycling along the backside of Utrecht Central Station, when I suddenly recognised this sculpture in combination with the sports hall behind it as the setting for this Cure photo. The sculpture is called ‘De Reis‘ (1971), which means ‘The Journey’. It is a creation of artist Paul Kingma.
After the opening song of The Cure’s only Dutch date on their 2016 tour, at Amsterdam’s biggest – sold-out – concert venue the Ziggo Dome, Robert Smith memorialises that it has been a while since they played live in the capital city. ‘A while’ actually is an understatement. It has been 32 years! Of course The Cure have performed in other cities in the Netherlands throughout that period, but it’s still something special to reflect upon. Maybe that’s also the reason why we are treated with quite some exclusive songs on this Sunday night. But I guess almost nobody had expected this kind of setlist.
In the Internet era it’s easy to keep track of the songs The Cure perform everywhere. Setlist statistics is one of the favourite discussion topics among Cure fans, including me. According to these statistics, it would have been logical if The Cure would perform a heavily Disintegration oriented set in Amsterdam, thus opening with Plainsong. Another less likely option could be a Bloodflowers set. All wrong. Robert Smith remains an unpredictable genius. No logic with The Cure. They kick off with Open and probably everyone in the room expects a rather light Wish influenced show. But even that turns out a to be a wrong prediction…
Countdown was a weekly pop music show from the Veronica broadcasting association. It was one of the two big music programs on Dutch national TV, Toppop from broadcasting association Avro being the other. Countdown ran from the end of the 70s until the beginning of the 90s. While Toppop was more dominant in the 70s, Countdown probably was the most popular music TV show in Holland during the 80s.
Most of the shows were being recorded with audience at the Concordia building in Bussum, a village close to Amsterdam. In its heyday, Adam Curry (later to become MTV VJ) was the host of Countdown. He became quite a celebrity in Holland. Tall in person but also in hair, wearing an impressive fashionable mullet by 1987.
The Cure were quite regular guests at Countdown. They played at the Countdown Festival in Amsterdam in 1980 and visited the Countdown studios four times for miming performances from 1984 to 1987. In 1986 Countdown showed reports from the Pinkpop Festival in which The Cure were featured with some live bits and interviews. Also, over the years, the Tim Pope videos were broadcasted numerous times.
Below is – I hope – a complete overview of The Cure’s appearances on Countdown (not including their video broadcasts). If I still missed anything, please let me know!
Update July 2019: in the past couple of years a lot of Cure Countdown videos were removed from YouTube. Some have been uploaded again, but with watermark. Where possible I have updated the links below. For some videos unfortunately this means a downgrade. The links work on a computer from the Netherlands. Maybe not all of them on a mobile device or from another country.