It took 18 years for the cure to record their trilogy of pornography (1982), disintegration (1989) and bloodflowers (2000). Last November in Berlin it took them three hours to conclude it.
And what a three hours it is. The pornography set is, inevitably, the most intense. From the opening wail of 100 years to the closing noise of pornography, the set has an energy and tension which perfectly realises the abrasive nature of the album. 100 years would be perfect, although Smith's vocals are still warming up. The hanging garden is truly stunning, with especially impressive drumming from jason cooper. The band also deliver a cracking version of a strange day, but the highlight of the set though is undoubtedly cold (arguably the strongest track on the album anyway). As the cascading drumbeat and lavish keyboards emerge, the sense of eerie silence in the arena is tangible; the song is the most emotionally vulnerable moment of the set. The title track is realised in a way that makes it more performance-friendly than the studio track, and is a perfectly uneasy ending to the set.
As blue lights and quiet chimes fill the arena, the increasing feeling of a new dawn comes to a climax as the beauty of plainsong suddenly explodes across the arena. It is a truly magical moment, affording the song the status it truly deserves. Disintegration is (from my point of view) the strongest album of the three, and each song is well realised. The highlights are a pounding fascination street, a rare performance of the gorgeous the same deep water as you, and truly awesome renditions of homesick and untitled that close the set with a flourish of perfection.
As the songs of bloodflowers then fill the arena, the resigned tone of the album is evident. Where the birds always sing is delivered brilliantly, as is 39, but the real highlight of the set is the song bloodflowers itself. Cooper's drumming is again outstanding, as is the guitar work from Simon Gallup and Perry Bamonte, as the band gather strength towards the end of the marathon and produce a performance that is perhaps the finest of the concert. Smith's vocals are particularly perfect, infused with a power and emotion that really affirm the sense of occasion. The perfect end to a wonderful show, in which three fabulous albums (one of which has a legitimate claim to the title of finest album ever) are given the performance they demand.
The interviews on the dvd are also comprehensive, giving exaustive details about the gigs themselves, and also a fantastic insight into the band members' (particularly Smith and Gallup) feelings towards the songs.
A must for any cure fan. A must for any music fan.