'Trilogy' closes new chapter in Cure's history
By Joshua Klein
Special to the Tribune
July 5, 2003
Given the brooding nature of so many of his songs, it should come
as no surprise that the decision-making process
of Cure leader Robert Smith is based more on nagging, lingering thoughts than spontaneous epiphanies. It was in
the middle of 2000's "Bloodflowers" tour that Smith started to realize something special was going on, that the
latest incarnation of the band had reached a new musical peak, but it was a few years before he finally decided to
do something about it.
"We've been together nine years, this lineup, and I think we've gotten
really good," says Smith, who has fronted
the Cure since the late '70s, calling from England. "We've turned into a really good rock band. Something
happened on the `Bloodflowers' tour. The dynamic really jelled, and I wanted to get that on film."
The Cure has released several concert films over the course of its
25-year career. But rather than make another
traditional concert film, Smith and the rest of the band created "Trilogy" (Eagle Vision, two discs, 223 minutes total
run time). Recently released, the concert was filmed in Berlin and features the band performing its albums
"Pornography," "Disintegration" and "Bloodflowers" in their entirety. For fans and the band alike, the "Trilogy"
DVDs represent the closing of a chapter in the Cure's history. For one, it unites three of the group's most
thematically and sonically consistent albums into one impressive, imposing artistic statement. And for Smith, the
set concludes a plan set in motion in 1982, during the tumultuous "Pornography" sessions.
"The three albums hang together," Smith says. "One of the driving
things behind this film is that I'd always
intended `Bloodflowers' to be linked to `Pornography' and `Disintegration.' I felt, lyrically, that there were a lot of
things going on between the three albums. Making `Bloodflowers,' I kept referring back to `Pornography' and
`Disintegration,' saying, `Remember how we made these records?'"
"In the course of the `Bloodflowers' tour in 2000," Smith continues,
"we played over 100 songs, and we played all
but three of the songs from `Pornography' and `Disintegration.' Of the 20 songs, we played 17. And we played them
quite a lot, really, because I felt that they complemented the `Bloodflowers' songs. It felt really good playing them.
It just felt right. And that was one of the small steps that nudged me toward the film. There was no one big reason.
There were lots of little reasons."
Mixed in glorious surround sound showcasing the band's powerful on-stage
presence, "Trilogy" is an intense
document of a special show, one whose effectiveness hinges at least in part on Smith's obsession.
"We had to approach it as we were in the middle of a world tour,"
he recalls. "We rehearsed for a three-hour
show that we were only going to do three times. It was economically pretty stupid, really, but the idea that it was a
special event -- a one-of-a kind of deal -- made the film. If we had toured it to try to refine it, we would have lost
the intensity that is there. `Pornography' was a completely uncompromising record. It's just me wailing at the
world. Disintegration' has more of a pop sensibility, but it's still a dark record. When you watch the film, the only
real bright spots are `Maybe Someday' on the `Bloodflowers' set, and a little pocket of songs on the
"[`Trilogy'] has a hint of vanity project about it," admits Smith,
"but it's kind of justified, since it's such a unique
thing. It's certainly something fans responded to."
Especially the fans, it turns out. "Unless you're a member of my
immediate family, I don't think you'd know it had
been released," claims Smith with a hint of backward pride. "But it will still go top 5 on the DVD charts, probably
go to No. 1, and then drop out completely, because of Cure fans buying it."