Friday, May 30, 2014
2014 Toshiba Stage
It all started in 1976 as Easy Cure, formed by Robert Smith (vocals, guitar) along with schoolmates Michael Dempsey (bass), Lol Tolhurst (drums) and local guitar hero Porl Thompson. They began writing and demoing their own songs almost immediately, playing throughout 1977 in Southern England to an ever growing army of fans. In 1978 the 'Easy' was dropped, along with Porl, and an eager trio now known simply as The Cure were quickly signed to Chris Parry's new Fiction label.
In May 1979, their debut album Three Imaginary Boys was released to great acclaim, and as the band toured extensively around the UK, the singles "Boys Don't Cry" and "Jumping Someone Else's Train" were released. Michael left the band at the end of the year, and Simon Gallup (bass) and Matthieu Hartley (keyboards) joined. In early 1980 the Cure quartet embarked on an exploration of the darker side of Robert's song-writing, and emerged with the minimalist classic album Seventeen Seconds, along with their first bona-fide 'hit single' "A Forest."
After an intense world tour Matthieu left the group, and in early 1981 the trio recorded an album of mournful atmospheric soundscapes entitled Faith, which included another successful single in "Primary." The band then set out on a second global trek, named 'The Picture Tour', during which they released the non-album single "Charlotte Sometimes." In 1982 The Cure went back into the studio, and their increasingly ugly fascination with despair and decay culminated in the unrelenting sonic attack of the Pornography album. An intensely volatile tour ensued, and the single "The Hanging Garden" was released just as Simon left the band.
After pushing the limits of excess, Robert felt he had to change things, and did so by 'going pop' again. Rejuvenated, the Cure duo released their first real dance single, the cheesy "Let's Go To Bed," and during the making of the accompanying video forged a colourful and lasting relationship with director Tim Pope. The band continued into 1983 with the groovy electronic dance of "The Walk," followed by the demented cartoon jazz of "The Lovecats." All 3 singles and accompanying B-sides were then compiled and re-released as the Japanese Whispers album. In 1984 The Top album was released, a strange hallucinogenic mix, which contained the infectiously psychedelic single "The Caterpillar." The world Top Tour saw the band expand to a quintet, with the addition of Andy Anderson (drums) and Phil Thornalley (bass), and the return of Porl Thompson (guitar).
The new Cure sound was captured live for the album Concert. Andy and Phil left soon after the end of the tour, and were replaced by Boris Williams (drums) and further returnee Simon Gallup (bass). This new incarnation started work on 1985's The Head On The Door album with a very real sense of 'something happening'... The vibrant hit single "Inbetween Days" was followed up by "Close To Me," and the ensuing world tour paved the way for the massive success of the singles collection album Standing On A Beach in 1986. That summer saw the band headline the Glastonbury Festival for the first time, and a year of extensive gigs and festivals was crowned by Tim Pope's live concert cinema film The Cure In Orange.
In 1987, The Cure brought out Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, an immense double album of extreme and extraordinary stylistic range, and with the arrival of Roger O'Donnell on keyboards the Cure sextet traveled the world with 'The Kissing Tour', enjoying 4 more hit singles along the way. The wonderfully atmospheric Disintegration album was demoed in 1988 and released in 1989, and despite being a work of powerful brooding grandeur, it too gave rise to 4 hit singles. The awesome 'Prayer Tour' that followed, with the band back down to a quintet following the departure of Lol Tolhurst, included some of The Cure's best performances to date, and was captured live for the album Entreat.
In early 1990, Roger O'Donnell left the group, and was replaced by long-time band friend Perry Bamonte, just in time for a series of headlining European festival shows that included the band's second Glastonbury. The album Mixed Up was released, supported by the re-mixed singles "Never Enough," "Close To Me" and "A Forest," and in 1991, The Cure at last won some long overdue 'home recognition' with a Brit Award for 'Best British Group'.
In 1992, they produced Wish, a richly diverse multi-faceted guitar driven album hailed by some as their best work to date. It spawned 3 fabulous hit singles, and the glorious 'Wish Tour' that followed was a worldwide sell-out. The sheer power of the shows inspired the release of two live works in 1993, the album and concert cinema film Show and the more fan oriented Paris album. Immediately after the tour ended, guitarist Porl Thompson left the band again (this time with a smile!), and The Cure headlined the XFM 'Great Xpectations' Show in London's Finsbury Park as a quartet. The band also contributed "Burn" to the film 'The Crow' and covered "Purple Haze" for the Hendrix tribute album 'Stone Free'.
In 1994, Boris Williams decided to move on and in early 1995, Jason Cooper took up residency behind the drum kit, with Roger O'Donnell rejoining once more on keyboards. Work on the next album was interspersed with recording "Dredd Song" for the film 'Judge Dredd', a cover of Bowie's "Young Americans" for an XFM album, and headlining several major European festivals, including the 25th Glastonbury. The Wild Mood Swings album was released in 1996, and went straight into almost every top ten around the world. The Cure hit the road once more with 'The Swing Tour', their longest to date, releasing 4 singles along the way.
Galore, the follow up singles and video compilation to Standing On A Beach, was released in 1997, after which work took place in 1998 on a variety of projects, including "More than This" for the 'X Files' album, and a memorable appearance by Robert in the TV cartoon show 'South Park'! In 1999 the band completed the recording and mixing of what many regarded as their best studio album so far, the 'Grammy Nominated' Bloodflowers. With it's release in 2000, the band set off on the massive world-wide 'Dream Tour' - playing to more than a million people in 9 months.
2001 saw the long awaited release of the Cure's Greatest Hits album, which featured all the band's biggest selling singles along with 2 new songs, the elegiac "Cut Here" and the ebullient "Just Say Yes," a duet with Saffron. This year also saw the end of the group's relationship with Fiction Records, the label they had been instrumental in starting 23 years before.
In 2002, the band spent the summer headlining a number of European Festivals before going into rehearsals for two very special nights in November at the Tempodrom Berlin, where they performed all the songs from Pornography, Disintegration and Bloodflowers - plus encores! Both performances were shot in Hi-Def video on 12 cameras, and released on DVD as Trilogy.
In 2003, another chapter of The Cure story opened, the band signing a global album deal with the Geffen label. 2004 saw the Fiction release of Join the Dots, a 4cd Box set compiled by Robert of all the B-sides and Rarities, followed by the widely acclaimed new album The Cure, co-produced with the renowned Ross Robinson. 3 singles, "The End Of The World", "alt.end" and "Taking Off" all hit big, and another hugely successful world tour ensued, with the 23 date North American 'Curiosa Festival' leg especially notable for seeing the band supported by a number of hand picked younger bands including Interpol, Mogwai, The Rapture and Muse. The year ended with an MTV Icon Award presented at a special televised London show.
In 2005, Perry Bamonte and Roger O'Donnell left the band and Porl Thompson joined for a third time. The quartet's debut show was headlining Live 8 Paris, followed by a number of other summer European Festivals. The first four Cure albums (Three Imaginary Boys, Seventeen Seconds, Faith and Pornography) were re-released, with Robert providing 'rarities' for Deluxe Edition extras CD's, as part of an ongoing campaign to re-master and re-issue all the Cure albums. Immediately after closing a week of Teenage Cancer Trust Shows at the Royal Albert Hall in April 2006, the band started recording their 13th studio album, breaking off in June to allow Robert to work on a live DVD. In August the second set of re-releases (The Top, The Head On The Door, Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, along with 1983's Glove album Blue Sunshine) was released, each album a 2CD Deluxe Edition. In November Festival 2005, a 155 minute 5.1 DVD comprising a 30 song selection of live performances captured the previous summer by a mix of fans, crew and 'on-the-night-big-screen cameras', was put out.
Spring 2007 saw The Cure headline the Miami Ultra Music Festival before heading back into the studio to continue work on new songs. The 11 show Australasian leg of 'The 4Tour' kicked off in July with a headline slot at the Fuji Rock Festival (the band's first performance in Japan since 1984!), before moving on through Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. In October the band headlined the San Francisco Download Festival, before playing 3 wild nights in Mexico City at the Palacio de los Deportes, followed by an outstanding performance at the MTV Latin America Awards.
In February 2008, The Cure ran the European leg of 'The 4Tour', and in May released "The Only One", the first of 4 singles to be released every 13th of the month for 4 months. "Freakshow", "Sleep When I'm Dead" and "The Perfect Boy" followed, and as the band continued 'The 4Tour' with a sell-out North American leg, all 4 singles reached #1 on the Billboard chart. Indeed, for one remarkable week in August, 4 Cure singles were in the USA Top 20 at the same time! In September the "Hypnagogic States" EP was released, featuring remixes of the first 4 singles by acclaimed younger artists. In October, 2 weeks prior to release, the new album 4:13 Dream was performed in its 13 song entirety at a live broadcast MTV event in the Piazza San Giovanni in Rome before an estimated crowd of 75,000 and a TV audience of 10 million! The reaction to the event was awesome, with many critics and fans acclaiming the band's 13th studio album as a bona fide classic. The Cure finished the year in LA, playing a legendary 'Myspace Secret Show' at the Troubadour, followed by a memorable closing set at KROQ's 'Almost Acoustic Christmas'.
February 2009 saw the band celebrating their NME 'Godlike Genius' Award with two rousing shows performed at the Brixton Academy and the O2 Arena, followed in March by yet another visit to the west coast of America for an intimate performance at the Las Vegas Pearl Theatre, and a stirringly defiant broken-handed headline slot at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival! The rest of the year was taken up with a number of unusual collaborations, personal projects and work on restoring, transferring and digitizing the entire back catalogue. In May 2010, a re-mastered Disintegration was re-released, Robert once again providing 'rarities' for a Deluxe Edition extras CD, as well as new mixes of the whole album played live in London 1989, released as Entreat Plus. More unusual collaborations, personal projects and continuing work on restoring, transferring and digitizing the entire back catalogue filled the remainder of the year.
May 2011 saw the band fly to Australia to play two nights at the Sydney Opera House as part of the Vivid Festival. Initially planned to mark the 30th anniversary of the Faith album, the Reflections show did far more. First a Cure trio of Robert, Simon and Jason performed the Three Imaginary Boys album, then Roger O'Donnell rejoined the band to play the Seventeen Seconds album, and finally Lol Tolhurst stepped back onstage with The Cure for the first time in 23 years to perform Faith and assorted B-sides and singles. Both extraordinary nights were filmed with a future DVD release in mind. In September, The Cure quartet headlined Bestival, a unique 150 minute performance filmed and broadcast live in 3D, and released as a charity CD Bestival Live 2011, and in November the expanded Cure played seven more sold-out Reflections shows - one in the Royal Albert Hall, three in the Pantages Theatre LA and three in the Beacon Theatre NYC.
In May 2012 guitarist Reeves Gabrels joined The Cure in time for 'Summercure 2012', a run of 19 major European summer festival headline spots, starting at Pinkpop and ending at Eire's Electric Picnic, including epic sets at Roskilde, Werchter, Hurricane, the bands first ever show in Russia at the Maxidrom Festival, Les Eurockeenes, Vieilles Charrues, Paleo and Reading & Leeds along the way. All the shows were filmed in various formats with a future DVD release in mind.