Top critical review
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Remains highly recommended even with it's shortcomings...
on 29 November 2003
I bought this on it's day of release, which is now several months back and feel in a good position to review it now.
The problem I always had with this DVD (even before release) is that it's based around some convenient concept that the Pornography, Disintegration and Bloodflowers albums are in some way a special trilogy, forever linked to each other. I abhor this concept. For years Robert Smith said time and time again that it was Seventeen Seconds, Faith and Pornography that were a trilogy - linked due to the atmosphere they were made in, the subject matter, the sound and also because they were released chronologically.
I'm rather sceptical that Smith has suddenly decided that it's now three other records which are a trilogy simply because Seventeen Seconds then Faith then Pornography would not have been good enough together to play in full at a concert (and not a very long show either!).
Anyway, cynicism at marketing tactics aside - any band that release a live DVD with three full albums should be applauded and I certainly do applaud The Cure for this, especially when many bands are seen charging full rate for a DVD with maybe 50 or 60 minutes worth of a live show.
The DVD is broke down into three parts, in this order:
Pornography live, Disintegration live, Bloodflowers live (+ 2 song encore), Interview with all band members.
Pornography is easily the best set. They maybe aren't the best songs in their original album format, but then they are 21 years old so they now really benefit from a harder sound - especially played by a 5-piece Cure as opposed to the 3-piece that recorded it. Hanging Garden for instance is the best version of this song I have ever heard anywhere - wish the album version sounded as good as this.
Disintegration is the best of the three studio albums but the weakest when played live here. Smith's guitar parts are an integral part of the songs, but the guitar sound used for this show is awful and really ruins it for me. He swaps guitar for some songs and they're much better, but Pictures Of You (for example) is the worst live version I have ever heard - simply due to the guitar sound here (not his actual playing which is as good as ever).
Bloodflowers is an interesting set as it's theoretically the "heaviest" sounding (in terms of guitar rock) of the three albums but here much of it is a missed opportunity and while the rockier songs don't fall completely flat, they could have been loads better. The other disappointing thing during the Bloodflowers set is the very heavy reliance on electronic backing tracks (this is sadly evident during the whole concert) and it's a real shame as The Cure never ever used to use backing tracks during concerts.
The 2 song encore (The Kiss and If Only Tonight We Could Sleep) are the best songs by far, but the Pornography set is also up there.
The interview section is good as I've never seen such a long interview with the band since an MTV special 11 years ago, but it's a shame that band members are interviewed seperately. It would have been good to have seen some interaction between the band.
To sum up; I personally feel that In Orange and Show are far superior as concert films, both in terms of the playing of the songs, the overall sound, and the actual tracklistings and I wish somebody would release them on remastered DVD. In fact what Cure fans really need is a DVD boxset with Staring At The Sea, In Orange, Play Out, Show and Galore. Compared to In Orange and Show, Trilogy sadly just confirms what other people say - namely that The Cure as a live act are still desperately missing Boris Williams' drumming and Porl Thompson's guitar skills - both of them easily within the top 5 in the world for their respective instruments.
If I were reviewing this title on value for money alone it would get a 5-star rating, but I'm not so it's only getting a three star rating !!!
I would suggest that if you're aware of The Cure songs and don't mind watching VHS then you may wish to consider opting for Show which is far far superior to this.
If it's the songs on Trilogy you want to hear though, then it's worth the price for the Pornography set alone so that should be enough to convince you.