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flag England - Full Moon 71 - 07/24/02

The Cure
Zillo Festival Hahn/Hunsrück, Germany 13.07.2002

Dark & gloomy

I should've been prepared, but in the end it turned out that i wasn't. When I interviewed Robert from The Cure back in May, we talked at great length about how he wanted to shake things up a little on the upcoming festival tour and play more varied setlists than usual. He even told me that they wanted to play a special set of the more "esoteric" stuff at the Zillo Festival, one of Germany's premier goth open airs, supported by the magazine of the same name. Yet somehow I didn't believe him. I mean, our interview was supposed to be for a Zillo cover story and I figured that he knew quite well that an announcement like that alone certainly would make me, my editor and our readers very happy. I did notice however that The Cure did play some interesting stuff at their festival apperances the previous week, and did not stick to their usual routine of playing 75% of songs from the latest record plus a selection of "the hits". So even when I met Robert again right before the show and he assured me that they had put together a (andI quote) "particularly weird set", I didn't quite know what to think of it.

The Cure obviously play tons of shows almost every year and that they should play a REALLY special set at a festival in Germany, organised by the magazine I write for, seemed a bit too strange, I suppose. But Robert is obviously not a liar. On this rainy evening his band played a show that most definitely will go down in history as one of the best in their 25 year career and it almost certainly featured one of the most unique and weirdest setlist that The Cure have ever performed at a regular gig. Here's what happened: They came on stage at 10.20pm and launched right into the arguably best opening number of any of their albums, 1989s "Plainsong", only to follow it with the first of many, many songs from their "gloomy" phase, "Figurehead", from 1982's Pornography album. An album, the english press at the time apparently described as "Phil Spector in hell". The underrated "From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea" followed in a crystal clear mix that made the song sound fresh and energetic as if it was written this year, not ten years ago. Robert didn't say a lot in between songs, but what he said was often hilariously funny, like "shocking" the goth crowd with the announcement, that the next song would be "a top 10 hit all around the world", just to add after a lengthy break: "...but not in this world." They also played a very welcome "Drowning Man", before pulling out some songs from their mid-80s pop phase. Not the chart-topping singles, though, but welcome obscurities like their most overlooked pop gem, the gorgous "Push" and some of the lesser known songs from 1987's Kiss Me... album. The first single they played came about one hour into the set with "Pictures Of You"., before they went back on the dark and gloomy trail again, playing "Siamese Twins" and the bleaker than bleak "One Hundred Years" back to back. While they hadn't played a single show on the "Dream Tour" in 2000 that featured less than a handful of new songs, the ONLY song from their latest studio album tonight, was the title track, "Bloodflowers", which they immediately followed with "Pornography". Wow! When they left the stage for the first time after a stunningly beautiful "Disintegration" everybody in the audience agreed that this had been quite special indeed - but the best was yet to come.

At their previous festival shows this summer they had made up for the lack of singles ("Pictures Of You" was the only one played so far in the two hour mainset!) in the encores, by pulling out favorites like "Just Like Heaven" or "The Inbetween Days" or at least doing some of the covers they had prepared for this tour, like "Don't Believe A Word" by Thin Lizzy or The Sensational Alex Harvey Band's "The Faith Healer". But apparently Robert thought that the show hadn't been special enough yet and so with a big smile on his face he returned to the stage, saying: "Here comes the really old stuff now". But who would've thought that they would give us a six-song encore, in which the newest (!) song dates back to 1981?! Well, that's exactly what the did! They started off with "Three Imaginary Boys", played in the original three piece set up, with Robert on guitar, Simon on bass and Jason on drums, which left keyboard player Roger playing a tambourine (that you actually couldn'there) and Perry adding a bit of feedback in the middle. They followed this note-perfect rendition with a trio of songs from 17 Seconds: "M", the always more than welcome "Play For Today" and the inevitable "A Forest", tonight in the abbreviated single version, thank god. But they still hadn't reached the climax yet. The second to last song was introduced by Robert as "one we haven't done in a long time, and I hope it goes right". They did an awesome version of "Charlotte Sometimes", a song which a lot of the younger people in the audience probably hadn't hoped to ever hear live even in their wildest dreams. They closed with an extended version of the glorious epic "Faith", complete with new lyrics at the end.

There's nothing more to add - it was a perfect show!

Copyright © 2002 Carsten Wohlfeld e-mail address

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