In November 2002, after a few years of repeatedly grouping Pornography, Disintegration, and Bloodflowers together in interviews as something of a thematic trilogy, Robert Smith decided to fulfill many a Cure fan's dream by solidifying that claim into two 3-hour concerts with each album performed in its entirety. Those two nights have been solidified into the Trilogy DVD, something of a live documentary of The Cure's darker side.
The DVD opens with a menu made up of interesting black and white video shots and backed by "100 Seconds", a new instrumental electronic track by Robert Smith that also serves as the intro/outro of the Trilogy DVD. The same black and white video theme opens the DVD after a quote from Keats, and as crowd noise cuts in, the band dives into the Pornography set with a fairly heavy and energetic version of "One Hundred Years". The band, especially Simon, seems to really be into the more intense sound of the Pornography set, and the performances are thankfully fairly rough and faithful to the originals rather than updated and glossy. Jason's drumming, however, is quite a bit more polished than Tolhurst's drumming on the album, but it's also a bit less heavy and powerful. Still, it's sort of an even trade and doesn't really hurt the performance. The rougher sound of the performance maybe doesn't quite work on the slower songs like "Siamese Twins" (which finds Roger playing tambourine) and "The Figurehead" (which features a really cool giant mask projection backdrop), but tracks like "One Hundred Years" and "Pornography" sound spectacular delivered through layers of guitar noise and crunchy bass. The Pornography set is certainly one of the highlights of the concert.
Next up is Disintegration, perhaps the weakest of the 3 album sets. While it's certainly not a bad performance, the material seems better suited to its polished album incarnation that this slightly rougher attempt to faithfully reproduce it. While I'm sure the opening notes of "Plainsong" and the beautiful ethereal quality of the music were chill-inducing live, it doesn't quite come across on the DVD. Still, the band is in top form and it's great to hear "Homesick" live. While this set will probably make the DVD for huge fans of Disintegration, it's really the least spectacular thing here.
Finally comes The Cure's newest album, Bloodflowers, which gives us the tightest set of the evening (likely due to the fact that they've had plenty of recent practice playing it). Most of the mellower songs sound polished and are very well performed, with the exception of "The Loudest Sound" which seems a bit flat...literally...the bass effects seem to throw things a little out of tune at times. The louder songs, however, are the definite highlight. The 10-minute-long-give-or-take opus "Watching Me Fall" gets off to a slow start, but is quickly saved by Perry's wailing guitar solos as the band wallows in heavy, psychedelic rock bliss. "39" is equally powerful, with layered guitars and driving bass. "Maybe Someday" is also a noteworthy rendition, with Roger doing an impressive job with the keyboard solo. Overall, Bloodflowers lends itself well to live performance, and the band doesn't disappoint.
The concert ends with an encore of two songs from Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me. "If Only Tonight We Could Sleep" is a fairly faithful rendition of the album version while "The Kiss" is loud and rocks harder than anything else on the DVD (not to mention the impressive fact that these 40-something lads can play for three hours straight and still rock harder and seem more energetic than most younger bands would after one hour). It's enough to make you wish they played the entire Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me album instead, but even fans who would have liked a more upbeat rock/pop-oriented The Top/Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me/Wish trilogy set will still want to own this DVD.
As for extras, they're pretty sparse. There's an interview. The hidden selections referred to on the box amount to some extra interview footage and a few extra camera angles. The additional camera shots are sort of interesting, though, since they're apparently taken with Robert's handheld camcorder. The sound source used in the alternate shots seems to be from the camera, giving you something of a comparison between the sound as heard by the audience and what is heard on stage.
So there you have it...The Cure's dark trilogy performed in its entirety. Although the idea of live versions of three studio albums played in order may not appeal to everyone, fans of the band's darker material as well as those of their more upbeat material will find more than enough reasons to justify buying this 3+ hour 2 DVD concert film. Even newer fans or those mildly curious about the band's darker side will probably find it a worthwhile introduction to the band's moodier material, especially considering the fact that the DVD retails for less than the combined cost of the 3 studio albums they performed. This is definitely one DVD (err...two, actually) that's worth owning.