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#1 HALL OF FAMEon 17 February 2007
Sadly The Cure don't play as many UK gigs as they really should - something like five gigs in the 21st Century in the UK (Wembley Bloodflowers, Hyde Park a year or so later, a small club gig for charity, a one off around their 2004 eponymous LP, and their epic Albert Hall gig last year) - so `Festival' gives the non-continent voyaging Cure fan chance to catch their great live performances of 2005. I really wish they'd play more often in the UK and maybe play smaller, cuter venues!!!

The old Cure is the same as the new Cure, obligatory line-up changes occurring - guitarist Perry Bamonte and keyboard player Roger O'Donnell have left the band, while long time associate Porl Thompson (originally in an early Cure line-up and later in the band from 1984's `The Top' to 1992/93's live `Show/Paris' recordings) has rejoined following some years playing with folk like Page & Plant (though Thompson did guest with the Cure a few times after, playing on `End' at their XFM gig and at a club gig a few years ago on Cure oldie `I Dig You'). Thompson was the Cure's greatest guitarist, so his return is very welcome - Robert Smith (vocals/guitar) has come up with the idea that The Cure shouldn't have a keyboard player (despite having one since 1980!) letting Thompson replace that with wild guitar lines against his own guitar and the backing rhythm section of Jason Cooper (drums) and the timeless (& apparently ageless) Simon Gallup (bass). A bold idea, Smith clearly not resting on his laurels. I heard bad things about a track or two at the Albert Hall gig - `Lullaby' was meant to have been awful, but on the evidence here, the four-piece Cure is a sound idea, shame a live album wasn't forthcoming as well!

Like the recent Depeche Mode DVD `Touring the Angel', `Festival' suffers from the digi-cam approach, which looks a bit dull and not as brilliantly shot as `The Cure in Orange' or `Show.' Smith looks the same as ever, so some gigs aren't that visual...whatever. The songs and the performances speak for themselves and any seasoned Cure fan should love the trawl through material from 1980's `Seventeen Seconds' to their last album (though nothing from debut `Three Imaginary Boys', 1995's `Wild Mood Swings' or 2000's `Bloodflowers' - though b side `Signal to Noise' stems from the period of the latter. A shame since I'd love to hear Thompson play on versions of songs like `1015 Sat Night', `Want', `Trap', & `39'). The encore section is particularly lovely, four tracks from `Seventeen Seconds' - a bruised `At Night', a muscular `M', a sing-along `Play for Today' (the crowd finally replacing the synth!), and a decent stab at `A Forest' which has a great opening by Smith and Thompson. The second encore element finds a `Disintegration' double whammy in the form of `Plainsong' and the title track, very very great and all topped off with the bleak adieu of `Faith', which sounds much better without the keyboard.

Wish's `Open' and `End' begin and close the main `set' on `Festival', between it's all good stuff - the effective duo of `Just Like Heaven' and `In Between Days' nestling against each other, and a violent end section featuring `The Baby Screams', `100 Years' and `Shiver and Shake.' 1985's `The Head on the Door' is visited a few times more with a stunning take on latingothrocker `The Blood', the evergreen `A Night Like This' (again, much better minus the predictable keyboard), and a great take of `Push.' Thompson's talents remind us that `If Only Tonight We Could Sleep' probably came from him (if they were going to do `Lullaby' it should have been done this way!), and his presence on `Never Enough', `From the Edge of a Deep Green Sea', and `The Drowning Man' remind us he's the great Cure guitarist. Comparing his playing on the material from `Pornography' (`Figurehead', `100', `A Strange Day') and the `Disintegration'-material to those of Bamonte on the `Trilogy' DVD shows just how right Smith was getting him back in the band. & great to see the violent `The Kiss' still followed by `Shake Dog Shake' in the style of the Hyde Park gig.

`Festival' is probably one for the fans, not that exciting visually, but great performances of great songs - the less obsessive Cure fan (like Stephen Merchant) will gripe that songs like `The Lovecats', `Close to Me', `The Walk', `Why Can't I Be You', `Friday I'm in Love' and `Boys Don't Cry' aren't here. Oh well, it's a brilliant career and a reminder like the reissued back catalogue that the Cure still have it. Roll on the new album...and British tour?
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on 5 December 2006
Great setlist, and the Cure are in fine form. Not the greatest cinematic experience but it sounds great and i believe a lot of the shots are from fans anyway (beastie boys awesome style) and Robert helped edit it on his G5 so i'll let him off. This DVD is a must for fans, i can imagine if you're not a fan sitting through this mammoth cure gig coud be a bit dull. But I LOVE IT!!!
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"Festival", the debut release by the new-look, slimmed down four piece `rock' Cure, is, to be blunt, a glorified home movie. It's impossible to avoid one simple fact about it when you start watching : the visuals are average but the audio is fantastic.

The soundtrack is easily equivalent of any of The Cure's other live releases : a two and a half hour, epic expedition through their back catalogue that exhumes a handful of hit singles, oft-ignored album tracks, a rare b-side, and reinvents them all in a new, spiky guitar vein. Shorn from the lush string laden sound that has characterisied the band for the last quarter century, these songs, somewhat surprisingly, seem to be enjoying a breath of fresh air.

Sadly, the same cannot be said of the visuals. Some fans are claiming the band would serve themselves better by reissuing (the obscure) "In Japan", "In Orange", and "Show" concerts on DVD : and in one way, they're not wrong. "Festival" is not a representative sample of The Cure on film.

So what's wrong with "Festival"? Well, visually, it's substandard. Part of the problem is that it is clearly sourced from low quality, barely adequate material. The band have personally re-edited live, low quality videoscreen feeds, DV hand held footage shot by the crew, and footage recorded surreptiously by the fans to create what can only be "an official bootleg" : shorn of opening credits, overdubs, professional camera crews, and taking an All Expenses Spared approach, "Festival" is a rough approximation of the band.

The visuals are the key problem : colours are oversaturated and bleed into darkness, members become translucent huge blue and pink blobs, images are blurry and lacking in definition, and all manner of basic Final Cut Pro tricks are employed to mask the shoddy visual source and (presumably) serve to only annoy the viewer. Songs are bled dry to black & white, images are blown up into a grainy, pixellated mess, looped for several seconds at a time and colour tinted in washed out cyans, magentas, reds and blues, before having negative washes applied. In addition, the visual quality of the disc is akin to a downloadable MPG : edges are pixellated and blocky at the extremities of many shots.

For two songs - "Play For Today" and "Faith" are presented in one single, solitary, often black & white shot from a tripod at the back of the venue. (This may be interesting as a DVD extra, but as part of the main feature, it's simply boring to watch).

There is good news : the soundtrack is a fantastic (and invigoratingly fresh) view of the bands previous work. It's also great value - with 30 songs and over two and a half hours in length, no one can really complain about being shortchanged.

Overall, "Festival" is a good thing : a reassertion of The Cure as a vibrant musical animal, and boding well for a interesting new direction for the band to go in. Just make sure you switch the visuals off as you enjoy the music.
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on 1 December 2006
Camera work not always great but a great choice of tracks covering the last 25 years of classic Cure. I am a massive Cure fan so it was great to see more Cure live on DVD not as good as the Trilogy DVD but then again will anything be as good as 3 great Cure albums live on one DVD.
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on 27 December 2006
I am an on / off Cure fan since the days of Seventeen Seconds. Recently I have getting to know Bloodflowers and realising how great they can be. The new album 'The Cure' is still a bit of a mystery.

With this in mind and following the ok'ish Trilodgy DVD, and whilst still waiting for Cure in Orange to be released I bought this DVD with a little more than my fingers crossed.

Luckily this DVD is just amazing.... it manages to truly capture how great the Cure can be. I was initially worried that after reading that it contained footage shot by fans, crew and rear projections that it would be a dvd of bootlegs etc for the hard core fans. Luckily it all adds to the live cure experience and the sound is brilliant.

To round up... Great visuals, Great Sound, Great tracklisting oh and with Porl and Gallup joining Fat Bob almost a classic lineup.

Brilliant.... buy it
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on 25 December 2006
Could they ever manage without keyboards ? Many thought not, but one thing this DVD does highlight is the genius guitar playing of Porl Thompson. His ability to replicate keyboard parts on guitar is stunning and you only really miss the keys on about 3 songs.

Captured over the summer of 2005 this DVD encompasses pretty much their whole career, though there are a few notable ommissions; nothing from their first album ( unfortunately ) , Wild Mood Swings ( thankfully ) or Bloodflowers. Totally blistering versions of The Blood, Push, M, Never Enough and Play For Today. The highlight has to be 100 years, so aggressive and intense, it's never sounded so good live.

The jerky camera angles can be a bit irritating, but this does add to the overall excitement of the show and you do get used to them pretty quickly.

In 22 years of attending Cure gigs i can honestly say that this current lineup is the most powerful i've seen and this DVD captures that power and excitement perfectly.
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on 29 November 2006
Looking at the track listing, its looks awesome. For the most part the sound is clear and crisp. But thats about it, you are then presented with a mix match of footage which resmbles a cross between a tv show and a bootleg recorded quality recording. It doesnt capture the cuure in their full bloom, which they still have. Shame. Being a life long cure fan it was great to see Porl back in the band. Myself i think money would of been better spent remastering and releasing The Cure in Orange and Show. Which is of more interst to cure fans new and old.
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on 8 April 2008
I re-watched The Cure's Trilogy the other night, and I have to say that Festival is without doubt the better of the two. To me, Trilogy is a great performance, but feels a little too slick, like the band are going through the motions. In comparison Festival feels raw, and yet displays so much more energy and passion.

Actually, the Festival DVD made me want to see them again. So I went to the recent Wembley concert, and they sounded fantastic - gritty, powerful and alive.

I suppose the Festival DVD is a good representation of the "new" Cure. And I don't miss the keyboards - I prefer the songs without them. After 26 years of the following the band I can honestly say that I love them more than ever.
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on 7 April 2011
The last time i saw cure was at the bloodflowers concert so was nice to see them again.I dont want to name all the tracks here look for yourself but will just say all the hits and more are on here from their huge time together as a band.It is good but one thing i did note was NO KEYBOARD. This is so obvious especially when they play plain song. Well lets just say they are the cure so they can play the songs how they choose to. perhaps it was a thing to say to themselves we are a great band lets use our tallent to produce the cure sound like a rock band does. So many bands rely totally on keyboards to do everything and here we see the cure doing the lot on their guitars.
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on 22 March 2008
Frankly speaking I do not have much time WATCHING the band perform live - I have bought this dvd because of the tracklist and sound - and it has been WORTH it. Very often I listen to the dvd without my TV on - only with the stereo. The live performace (or rather performances) are superb. I was very pleased to find out that my favourite member of the band - Porl Thomson was back - I just adore the way he plays the guitar - the same applies to Simon Gallup's bass - fantastic. Personally, I most appreciate "Push", "The Kiss", "M" , "Drowning Man" and "Faith".
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