Trilogy (Eagle Vision)
by Chad Van Wagner
As The Cure undergo an image makeover (remember when people considered them cheesy ’80s synth pop?) the band once known as “Robert Smith and whoever is in the room with him” have made their most respected works an official trilogy, with this two-DVD live concert called… well, Trilogy.
There is some debate as to whether or not this triumvirate of albums (Pornography, Disintegration, and Bloodflowers) was an intended trilogy, or simply a coincidence of musical attack and similar cover art (all three covers feature band photos, a rarity for The Cure). Revisionist history or not, there’s no denying that the three albums performed in their entirety on this live DVD will be Bob and company’s true legacy, and the performances here verge on the spectacular, possibly – dare I say it? – surpassing the original studio works.
I only saw The Cure live once, and while they’re about as visually exciting as bread mold, the live sound packed a punch that their endless stream live albums simply didn’t capture. That kick is finally captured, and director Nick Wickham plays it smart with the visual side of things: He keeps the camera moving, but shies away from the hyperactive editing that blemishes so many concert films (even, oddly enough, the recently released Led Zeppelin DVD). Wickham’s style strikes the difficult balance between unobtrusive and documentarian, which allows the music to just wash over you, which is what any good concert film should do. Trilogy is good enough to make you throw out your copy of the band’s previous ho-hum concert films In Orange and Show.
An added bonus is in watching the albums performed chronologically, seeing the depth and scope of Smith’s obsessions as they evolve over the course of the three (well-separated) albums. The idea of a trilogy was likely cobbled together after Bloodflowers was completed, giving the three a coherence that was simply the unplanned product of following one’s muse. Intentional or not, there’s nothing else in The Cure’s discography that matches the unity of these efforts, and Trilogy documents it in breathtaking style. One of the best of the year.