Probably 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…
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Today 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).
On 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 Muzine.nl 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.
On 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.
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Little is known about The Cure’s performance at the legendary and most beautiful venue of the Netherlands: Paradiso in Amsterdam. Of the many shows The Cure have done in Holland, they only have played one time at the Paradiso, which was on 23 May 1980. It was the fourth concert of their 6-date May tour across the Netherlands promoting the new album Seventeen Seconds (they would return a couple of times to Holland later that year). Support act on this tour were Fiction label mates The Passions.
The entrance fee at the Paradiso that night was 10 guilders, which is about 4,5 euros. As far as I know there is no recording of The Cure at Paradiso. Also it is unknown what songs they played, although it’s probable that the set will be more or less similar to the next day in Arnhem.
Last week a rare picture from The Cure (Robert) at Paradiso Amsterdam 1980 popped up on Twitter. Hopefully more will follow…
The Cure spent quite some time around Ascension 1984, at the end of May and the beginning of June, in the Netherlands. It was the week in which Robert Smith was on the verge of a mental breakdown, forcing him to cancel the upcoming tour with Siouxsie & the Banshees and to take a break away from The Cure. Despite his state of mind, Robert delivered three powerful shows with The Cure in the Netherlands, with two of them on one day (!), and did a promo performance of the new single The Caterpillar for Dutch national TV. To understand what was going on that week, I think you would have to look back at about a year and a half before.
Since the last quarter of 1982, Robert Smith had been working non-stop with three bands. Next to The Cure, he became a guitarist with Siouxsie & the Banshees, recorded the hit single Dear Prudence with them, the live double LP/video Nocturne and their new studio album Hyaena. They had toured the UK and Europe in Autumn 1982, then Japan, New Zealand, Australia, some European festivals and Israel in 1983 and Europe again at the start of 1984. In the meantime, Robert had also formed a side project with Banshees-bassist Steven Severin called The Glove and recorded the album Blue Sunshine, released in August 1983. On top of it all, he kept The Cure going. Robert and Lol had recorded a string of singles with accompanying videos, did some shows as a four piece in the UK and the USA in the Summer of 1983 and then toured the UK and Europe again in Spring 1984. In addition, Robert had written and recorded the new Cure LP The Top, which was pretty much a solo effort. He alternately performed with the Banshees and The Cure on several TV shows (The Tube, Oxford Road Show, Top of the Pops) during this period. He had also helped out video director Tim Pope with his single I Want To Be A Tree. One can imagine he couldn’t carry on like this.
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Some nice photos of The Cure live at the Muziekcentrum Vredenburg in Utrecht 31 May 1984 and at Pinkpop 1986. Here are the links:
Utrecht 1984: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4
Pinkpop 1986: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4
On this Sisters of Mercy fanpage there are lots of other rare live photos, like from Siouxsie & the Banshees at the Seaside Festival (Belgium) ’85 and at the Jaap Edenhal in Amsterdam on 23 April 1986.
Thanks to My Dominion NL for putting his impressive live archive online!
The Cure at the Thialf IJsstadion in Heerenveen, on 6 May 1989, was the only Dutch date on The Prayer Tour. I think it was announced in the newspapers sometime in March 1989. Special guests were The Mission and support act Shelleyan Orphan. The latter selected by Robert Smith himself for the whole tour.
Thialf, an indoor ice stadium which had been opened in 1986, was quite an unusual venue for a pop concert. According to an interview published in music magazine Oor at the time, The Cure wanted to play at a different location than the previous ones they were booked at in the Netherlands. They weren’t happy with the last show at the Rotterdam Ahoy’ Sportpaleis on the Kissing Tour ’87. Robert said there were too many occasional visitors who spoiled the atmosphere. I don’t recall that – I thought the second date in Rotterdam ’87 was fantastic, but okay, it was the first gig I ever went to. They wanted real fans who were willing to travel to see them. Heerenveen is located in a ‘rural’ area in the North of the Netherlands and could easily be combined with two other stops on the Prayer Tour, the cities of Hamburg and Bremen in Germany. The Cure’s show at Thialf was the first ever concert there. Maybe The Mission was also on the bill to attract more people to this far away and relatively big (capacity about 18.000) venue.
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The Cure played four times in the Netherlands during The Top Tour in 1984. Three shows in May: on 30 May 1984 at an ‘Eindexamen’ Festival (celebrating high school graduation), held at the Maaspoort in Den Bosch and two concerts the next day at the Muziekcentrum Vredenburg in Utrecht. Here they played two shows on one day, at 4:30 pm and at 10 pm. At the end of August (30th) The Cure returned to Holland for a one-off date at the Jaap Edenhal in Amsterdam.
Recently some very cool (and to me unknown) pictures from The Top Tour in Holland were published online. They are from Utrecht and Amsterdam.
Update January 2015: if you scroll down you can also find some photos from The Cure’s show at the Ahoy’ Sportpaleis in Rotterdam on 27 November 1985.
Thanks to the person(s) who took/posted these photos!
On Saturday 14 December 2013, Dutch national TV broadcasted a documentary about Jan Smeets, ‘Mr. Pinkpop’. He is one of the founders of the festival. Jan has been organizing it since 1970. In this documentary Jan and others, including Leon Ramakers of Mojo Concerts, were being interviewed about the Pinkpop 1986 story.
After the badly attended editions of 1984 and 1985, Jan engaged the services of Mojo Concerts, booker for The Cure in the Netherlands. It was Mojo who came up with the ideas for a later curfew, a bigger stage and The Cure to headline the festival. So it seems the credits for the successful 1986 edition have to go to them as well.
The documentary (YouTube link) shows the original footage of the opening song Shake Dog Shake (at approximately 52 minutes), which has not been broadcasted since 1986. As they use exactly the same imagery as has aired back then, it seems that no other footage has been preserved. Which of course is a pity.