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 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 second Cure show I attended. 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 (which I don’t recall – 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.
The European leg of the Pornography Tour started in Rotterdam on 5 May 1982. From 5 to 10 May The Cure played six dates in six cities in the Netherlands, before proceeding to Belgium, Germany and France. For a change, most of the Dutch shows were booked at rather large classical music venues, like De Doelen in Rotterdam and De Vereeniging in Nijmegen. The last concert in Holland, on 10 May 1982, was at a classical concert hall as well, the Muziekcentrum Vredenburg in Utrecht.
For many Cure fans, Pornography is their favourite album. But the tour promoting that album wasn’t that successful at all.
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The Cure’s performance at the Pinkpop 1986 festival has to be one of the best concerts they ever played in Holland. The timing couldn’t be better to headline this legendary open air festival in Geleen, in the south of the Netherlands. New Wave-subculture was huge in Holland. The year before The Cure had released The Head On The Door album, which produced two Top 40 hits Inbetween Days and Close To Me. The LP had peaked at number 3 of the Dutch album charts and stayed in there for 25 weeks. Then, in May 1986, The Cure released the singles compilation Standing On A Beach, preceded by a re-release of the single Boys Don’t Cry, which both also did very well.
Continue reading “Pinkpop 1986”