Rotterdam 5 November 1987

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 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…


Utrecht 1982 – the sculpture picture

Today exactly 35 years ago The Cure played at the Muziekcentrum Vredenburg 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.

At the time this part of the city was a bit of a concrete jungle. Across the street there is a hotel, formerly the Holiday Inn. Possibly The Cure were staying there for their gig of 10 May 1982. I imagine on the evening of the concert they went outside and took this photo shoot. The first two pictures below are from 2010 when it still looked quite the same as in 1982. The surroundings of the station have changed drastically since then, in a positive sense. The third picture shows how it looks today. The area is still under construction. Unfortunately the sculpture has been removed. No idea where it is now. We should ask the municipality to put it back because it’s a sacred place for Cure fans 😉

For a full retrospective coverage of the Pornography Tour 1982, please visit this great blog from my friend Guillaume.


Amsterdam Ziggo Dome – 13 November 2016 – review

smile‘Nkyou… and hello… …again! (…) it’s been a while…

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 know! The links to the videos work on a computer from the Netherlands, maybe not all of them on a mobile device or from another country.


Muziek Expres August 1980

19800801Muziek Expres was one of the oldest pop music magazines in the Netherlands. It already existed as of 1956. Until the mid 70s it was by far the biggest Dutch music magazine. The last (monthly) edition was released in December 1989.  In August 1980, The Cure got their (if I’m right) first feature article in Muziek Expres. Interestingly, it was an interview with Lol. He talks about the Dutch, doing concerts and the making of the Seventeen Seconds LP. Below you can read a translation of this article by Henk Bakker.

‘Simple music is an insult to the audience’

Very inconspicuously, within four years the English Cure made it into a prominent cult band. This is striking, because the trio, that later became a quartet, makes very special pop music which is not really easy listening. Henk Bakker talked to drummer Lol Tolhurst about the strange Cure-recipe…


Circus Tour 1981

Tent2Probably the most exceptional tour The Cure did in the Netherlands, if not ever, is the Circus Tour 1981. Exclusively for the Dutch leg of the Picture Tour promoting the Faith album, The Cure chose a radical alternative to clubs or other concert venues. The band travelled zig-zag through the Netherlands performing their show under a circus tent with a capacity of about 2.000 people. During ten days the tent was being broken down after each gig, driven by trucks to the next town at night and then built up again to be in time for the show the following evening. There has been quite some (local) media attention for this short tour. I thought it would be nice to gather this information to create a sort of tour diary. Below is an attempt to do this. Of course I’m happy to add things if you have more stories, memories, pictures, clippings, anything to share…


Amsterdam 2016

AmsterdamToday The Cure announced a 30-date tour across Europe in the Autumn of 2016, their first major European tour since 2008. They will also be playing in the Netherlands on November 13th. The concert will take place at the rather new 17.000 capacity venue the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam, which will be a first for The Cure. They will be breaking with the tradition of playing at the Rotterdam Ahoy’ Sportpaleis, which The Cure visited 8 times since 1985. The last time they played in Amsterdam was in 1984.

In the past The Cure have played in Amsterdam on 12 December 1979 (Melkweg), 23 May 1980 (Paradiso), 17 October 1980 (Jaap Edenhal), 21 June 1981 (Circus Tent), 6 May 1982 (Carré) and 30 August 1984 (Jaap Edenhal).

For Marcel and Nancy

Candle2A sad post. On Saturday August 1st 2015, long-time Dutch Curefans Marcel and Nancy were involved in a terrible car accident, which they did not survive. In the Netherlands, probably every Curefan knew Marcel. But also abroad he’s famous. With his impressive appearance, in full Cure style, you could recognise him from miles away. I’ve never really talked with Marcel and Nancy, I just knew them from Cure shows and new wave parties. They were always there. If you smiled at Marcel, he would smile back friendly. Marcel must be the biggest Curefan ever in Holland. Not only because he’s so tall, but also because of his huge love and endless loyalty for the band and their music. A friend of Marcel and Nancy wrote that a Cure concert will never be the same without them. They will be deeply missed… My thoughts are with Marcel and Nancy’s family, their friends and especially their two young girls.

Hal 4 Utopia Rotterdam 1980

Rotterdam WatertorenOn 2 November 1980, The Cure played the final date of their tour across Western Europe, for the second time around that year. It was in Rotterdam at the Hal 4 Utopia.

Not much is known about this gig. There is no recording circulating and, as far as I know, no pictures ever popped up somewhere. No other information to be found than a scan of the advert. But last December, Dutch online music magazine published a ‘listening test’ with two members of the Dutch alternative rock band Spasmodique. They were being confronted with a couple of songs and were asked to give their comments. One song was The Cure’s Jumping Someone Else’s Train.

Singer Mark Ritsema commented: ‘The Cure has been more or less the most important influence on our first band Torpedos, the precursor of Spasmodique. With Torpedos we were once support act for The Cure at Hal 4 in Rotterdam. Robert Smith did the lights for us then. I still remember that we were quite impressed by their second album Seventeen Seconds.’

Guitarist Arjo Hijmans: ‘This is weird. Now that we’re talking about it, I even remember the date of that performance at Hal 4. It was 2 November 1980. And I remember that Reinier (Rietveld, the drummer)’s mum drove us with our complete backline in her Tin Snail….hahahaha.’

Thanks to Hans for the link.


Groningen 1979

The Cure Oor 1979 - Vitamine COn Sunday 29 July 1979, The Cure played their first ever gig abroad. It took place at the ‘Sterren in het bos’ (‘Stars in the forest’) Festival in Groningen, a city in the Northeast of the Netherlands. The Sterren in het bos festivals were organised in the ‘Sterrebos’ park on Sundays during the summers of the seventies up until 1983. It was free entrance. On most editions a couple of thousand visitors would turn up. In those days there was still quite a hippie-like atmosphere. Other bands that have played at the Sterren in het bos festival series include Fischer Z (1979), Echo & the Bunnymen (1980), The Sound (1981) and Comsat Angels (1982).

The Cure’s performance was in the afternoon. It’s probably mostly remembered due to a cloud-burst, transforming the park into a lake. At least two other local bands played that day: Suster Poppy and Plant. In the evening The Cure would do another show at a small club called Simplon, also in Groningen, perhaps to make it up for their soaked Groningen fans.