The Cure - Festival 2005 DVD

"However much I fuck it around... it's never enough..."

So, it's 2005, you're Robert Smith, and you're a bit bored. What do you do? Well firstly you fire most of your band, get your old mate back in on guitar, and then bugger off around Europe for a couple of months headlining a load of festivals. You haven't really got much to promote so you can just play whatever you want. Dip into the back catalogue a bit. Oh, and get some people to shoot it on some dodgy handheld camera's and splice it together with some "Festival TV" footage and voila, we have a package. And this is it. The camera work is often shaky but what it lacks in finesse and extra's ( i.e none) it makes up for with a bloody long gig.

So what do you get then? Well essentially this is a full length Cure show culled together from 9 different European festivals which took place last Summer. With a whopping 30 song set mostly taken from before or included on their 1992 "Wish" album (only "Signal To Noise" and three from most recent album "The Cure" are from after this period). If anything is apparent, it's that this collection really only shows one side of The Cure. It draws heavily on the more bleak songs from "Disintegration", "Wish" and "Seventeen Seconds". Which is all good and well, but if you're looking for "Friday I'm In Love", "Hot, Hot, Hot", "The Lovecats" or any of the other criminally under-rated pop side of The Cure, this certainly isn't the DVD for you. Which is a shame really as during this tour, many of those songs were actually played but obviously they didn't fancy including them on here.

With the band stripped down to a four piece, with no keyboards for the first time in decades, most of the songs have a lot of a rawer feel to how they usually sound live. Perhaps this is meant as a taster for the new album. Indeed with Porl Thompson back on guitar, they sound and also look a lot tighter onstage than in recent years and hopefully this will translate to the new material. Maybe.

But really, as huge a fan of The Cure as I am, I actually felt a bit let down by this release. It's certainly long enough, but with no extras or between song banter, it just seems a bit too long. For anyone really wanting a Cure DVD, stick to the "Trilogy" concerts they put out a few years ago. That really shows them at their best.

Richard Bull