The Cure-Trilogy (2002)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Animation & Audio
|Year Of Production||2002|
|Running Time||233:33 (Case: 223)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Nick Wickham|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
When I was a teenager, I used to play the first two Cure albums all the time, back to back, working on assignments or just sitting in my room feeling depressed because I just broke up with my girlfriend or whatever. A friend introduced me to Disintegration, The Cure’s second installment in this trilogy (their seventh release overall), when I was about 13 and from then on I was hooked. I bought Pornography and The Cure Show, and although I never quite got into the later stuff, I picked up most of that too. When Bloodflowers came out in 2000 it was truly the completion of a trilogy – a dark edged series firmly rooted in the early experimentation with electronic music and rock in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with their work, The Cure kind of sound like Pink Floyd’s Momentary Lapse Of Reason or Dark Side Of The Moon ... only darker. And grungier. Building in a steady minimalist drone using synthesiser with guitars creating harmonic progressions in minor keys across it, this musical style has been very influential. I can hear the genesis of Scottish group Mogwai in this music, as well as Canadian group God Speed You! Black Emperor. Although these latter two groups get more into the heavy nihilistic guitar work to create a cacophony of noise from which emerges melody, The Cure use electronic synthesisers to create this ambient field through which pierces guitar and drums to create harmony and rhythm.
In recent years my interests in music have strayed more into the purely electronic scene, but when I heard that The Cure had recorded this trilogy live in Berlin and the set was coming out on DVD my only regret was that I was not there to see it personally on the night. However, this DVD set comes close to giving you the feeling of actually being there, and this is truly an astonishing achievement in audio visual presentation.
Presented across two discs, we get The Cure’s dark trilogy – Pornography, Disintegration and Bloodflowers – performed live and remastered (and I mean really remastered, not some crappy pseudo remastering) into 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound. For the uninitiated, I’ll give you a brief walk through.
A dark and very moody album, this sets the tone for the trilogy. It is also the shortest of the three, but don’t let that fool you. It plays a lot more with discordant harmony, and has lead singer Robert Smith’s vocals at the forefront of the tracks. It also includes the classic track “The Hanging Garden”, is fairly up-tempo in pace by comparison to its follow up, and has the intense “Pornography”, the title track, as its finale. A worthy beginning to any trilogy, asking more questions than it answers.
This is, in my opinion, The Cure’s best album. There are doubtless people who will disagree with me on this one, but when I knew I was going to get this set to review, I went back and listened to all my CDs and this one still has the most creative drive and the most soul, even if Bloodflowers is undoubtedly better produced. It also has my favourite Cure tracks of all time, the crooning “Pictures Of You”, the intense “Last Dance”, the melodic “Lullaby”, the soulful “Same Deep Water As You” and the bittersweet “Homesick”. I know picking best tracks here is like splitting hairs, because they are all fantastic – not just on this album, but on all of them. But after listening to these DVDs all day non-stop before I wrote this review, I can recall these being my favourite as a kid, and they’re still my favourite. Certainly, I have some nostalgic attachment, but these are truly heart rendering pieces of real music, not that catchy s*** they play on the radio nowadays.
And what’s the verdict on the live set of this album? In a word: Amazing.
This is a dramatically more up-tempo album than the previous two, again, not in its mood but in its pace. There are a lot more 1990s style grunge tracks here, more in the vein of the aforementioned Mogwai, and at times sounding musically reminiscent of early work by The Cranberries. But The Cure just does this so d*** well. The jump in technology between the release of albums (Disintegration was first released in mid-1989, and Bloodflowers was released almost 11 years later in early 2000) is evident in the kind of electronica being used to create ambient mood, and some very funky almost dance or hip-hop style beats being pumped out by the percussionist Jason Cooper. I've got to say that I love this album, and the performance here is pure magic, but it is still no match for its predecessor. That said, it is indeed a worthy finale to the trilogy and, and to go out on such a melancholy note like that is just …chillingly brilliant.
The encore set here is two tracks, “If Only Tonight We Could Sleep” and “The Kiss”, from the Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me release of 1987. A nice bookend, and performed exceptionally well.
While some might count this as an extra, it was clearly the intention of the filmmakers to make a film here, not just in the trilogy performance itself, and this documentary – composed of interviews with the current line up of the band – makes an effective epilogue to the whole thing.
As a package and as a performance, this is absolutely brilliant. Stirring, amazing music in a full panoramic widescreen presentation of the whole gig. If you are a Cure fan, I cannot urge you enough to go out and get this. You might already own the CDs, but this is amazing. Trust me, you will not be sorry. If you don’t know much about The Cure, but like good music, this is a modern classic in music film and will be remembered as such. Get it now.
|1. One Hundred Years|
2. A Short Term Effect
3. The Hanging Garden
4. Siamese Twins
5. The Figurehead
6. A Strange Day
10. Pictures Of You
13. Last Dance
|15. Fascination Street|
16. Prayers For Rain
17. The Same Deep Water As You
21. Out Of This World
22. Watching Me Fall
23. Where The Birds Always Sing
24. Maybe Someday
25. The Last Day Of Summer
26. There Is No If...
27. The Loudest Sound
Captured live at the concert in Berlin, this is presented here in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, which is probably the original aspect ratio – I can find no source to either confirm or deny this.
Filmed in high-definition digital, this transfer is perfect. I mean it. It is perfect. Sure, there is some light grain, but this is a result of the very low light conditions under which the concert was shot, and perhaps even a little intentional conditioning so as to give a film effect, the way Saving Private Ryan was shot.
Everything is crisp and clear throughout. Colours are rich and vibrant, the stage persistently lit in midnight blue and a hellish red. Shadow detail is excellent, even given the particularly low lighting. You can make out creases in the black t-shits that the band members are wearing. Impressive.
There are no MPEG artefacts and, believe it or not, no film-to-video transfer artefacts. Like I said, perfect.
These are both dual-layered discs. On Disc 1, the dual-layer pause is at 14:16 during the Disintegration set, or 60:05 if you watch the whole show in one continuous uninterrupted viewing. The pause occurs during the applause at the end of “Pictures Of You”, and while noticeable, it is not disruptive. On Disc 2, the dual-layer pause is at 60:26 at the end of the Bloodflowers set, just before the encore set. If you just watch the Bloodflowers set on its own, you are not even aware of the pause - you have to watch the whole second disc through to be aware of it.
There are two soundtracks available – the default 2.0 Linear PCM track and a 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround track. Normally, a Linear PCM will trounce a 5.1 Dolby Digital mastering on a music DVD because the remastering has been done in someone’s basement in the ten minutes before the release of the DVD just so a marketing producer can legally put “Remastered in Dolby Digital” on the cover without getting sued by some principled purchaser for breaches of the Trade Practices Act. This is not the case here.
Without a doubt, this is the best 5.1 Dolby Digital mix on a music DVD I have heard, and I’ve reviewed a lot of these. Sure, the Fatboy Slim: Big Beach Boutique II DVD had a thumping DTS track that still sits close to the top of the list for audio remastering of concerts, but even that pales in comparison to the clarity and ambience we have here. Given that the track was mastered at Abbey Road Studios, London, I would expect nothing less.
Let’s rewind a little first, though, and have a little discussion about the Linear PCM track, because this is still nothing to be sneered at. I am fortunate enough to have active subwoofers in the base of my left and right stereo towers and so Linear PCM gets a seriously hardcore result through my system even without the addition of the active 12-inch sub I have to round out the full 5.1 Dolby Digital experience.
This Linear PCM track is probably the best I have heard, putting the admittedly awesome track on the Jeff Buckley: Live In Chicago DVD firmly back in its box. The range is fantastic, pulsing the deep bass range and getting into the treble in a serious way. The Linear PCM track also picks up Smith’s vocals very well, and spreads the sound in a nice surrounding envelope. But if you flip it over to the 5.1 Dolby Digital track, the Linear PCM just pales by comparison.
As for the 5.1 Dolby Digital track – Wow. Wow. And more wow. I didn’t know music could sound this good, especially when the music contains some of my favourite tracks of all time.
Surround sound is the order of the day here, and for once Warner Vision really delivers. None of this ‘slight ambience from the rears’, this is a fully enveloping soundfield, which is very fitting given the oppressive drone of the synthesiser that pulls you into a cacophony of noise from which these artists then make music. This track just swallows you whole and digests you. Truly impressive.
The subwoofer also gets extensive use, not just to round out the synthesiser, but also to add depth to the awesome minimalist bass guitar work by Simon Gallup and each thud of that bass drum by Jason Cooper. The depth, the ambience, the whole lot here is just absolutely breathtaking.
|Surround Channel Use|
As I mentioned above, I count the so-called interviews documentary component here as part of the actual film, not as an extra. I will give it a brief run-down here as well, but only as a courtesy to those of you who didn’t read what I had to say in the plot synopsis.
Other than that, there are really no extras here, but in this case I am not going to count this as a detriment. Warner Vision have obviously made a conscious effort to utilise the limited space on both these DVDs to give us, the viewer, the best possible presentation of this landmark concert in terms of video, but more particularly in terms of sound. I refuse to fault them for this infinitely wise choice and wish more distributors would think in these terms.
All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. They are ten second black and white snippets of Berlin winter scenery, filmed in an intentionally scratchy manner. There is also the intro music to the concert playing in 2.0 Dolby Stereo.
Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, these interviews are not filmed in as good a quality format as the concert, and the sound is only 2.0 Dolby Stereo, but you hardly need 5.1 Dolby Digital to hear a documentary of interviews do you? Some very interesting stuff here is said by band members, some confessions and some insights. If you count this as an extra and not part of the film as a whole, it is an impressive extra.
Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo. Everything you ever wanted to know about who made the film in fine print.
A foldout glossy slip with the track listings for each set, the release dates for each album, the copyright information, and a collection of four photos, one of each member of the band taken during the performance of the concert.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
It would appear that the R1 version is identical barring the PAL/NTSC formatting difference.
The Cure – Trilogy is a work of art, a work of musical genius, and the best music DVD set I have ever seen.
The video is perfect, barring some slight (and I believe intentional) graininess.
The audio is truly stunning.
The extras were minimal, but I do not consider this to be a fault in this instance.
|DVD||Panasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output|
|Display||Beko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver.|
|Speakers||Energy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer|