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.
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.
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!
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 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.