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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » The Cure: Trilogy Live in Berlin (Blu-ray)
The Cure: Trilogy Live in Berlin (Blu-ray)
Eagle Rock Entertainment // Unrated // February 10, 2009 // Region A
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted February 3, 2009 | E-mail the Author
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Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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The Concert:
In 2002 the influential and ground-breaking band The Cure traveled to Berlin where they preformed three of their albums from beginning to end.  Pornography (1982), Disintegration (1989), and Bloodflowers (2000) show the band at different stages in their career, yet all three are powerful and impressive works.  The resulting three-hour concert, aptly titled Trilogy, is as extraordinary as it sounds.  Luckily the group had the foresight to record the show (actually two shows played on consecutive nights) in high definition, and now Eagle Rock Entertainment has put out this exciting rock event on a great looking Blu-ray disc with sound that will simply blow you away.
The three albums that make up this concert have a lot of similarities, Cure front man Robert Smith has often stressed that, and seeing them preformed back-to-back really brings that point home.  The show starts out with Pornography, and from the opening chords it's clear that the band isn't going to phone in their performance.  The band was in the groove and didn't try to replicate the album note-for-note played the songs with gusto while still retaining the dark atmosphere of the record.  Simon Gallup's bass was deep and tight and Perry Bamonte's guitar playing was a joy to hear.
If they had just released the Pornography concert by itself, I would have been happy with the disc, but as it ended and I realized there were still two more albums to go, I grew excited.  Disintegration only raised the bar.  The least depressing and most pop influenced of the three albums, the band seems to relax during this set and it's the highlight of the concert.  Smith's voice was particularly strong during Pictures of You and hit the from the album, Lovesong, will have even the most casual fans mesmerized.
The show concludes with Bloodflowers, a disc that I still feel is still one of the bands underappreciated works even though it earned them a Grammy nomination.  I was curious how the band would handle this material.  They had recently toured to promote the album and had been on stage for nearly two-hours already.  It would have been natural for them to slow down a bit and just finish the concert in a by-the-numbers fashion but they don't.  This last section is just as stunning as the first two.  Bamonte's guitar is just as energetic on the 10+ minute Watching Me Fall, the highlight of the set, as it was on the first song of the evening, and Smith's voice was just as intense. 
Filmed with 12 HD cameras, the images are lively and manage to capture the whole band, as well as the audience, to good effect.  While there are some songs where the cutting from shot to shot is a little fast for my tastes, overall I thought the editing was very good.  The band members all get time on screen and the camera work was never too static.  This is a great looking rock concert.
The Blu-ray Disc:
I was a little disappointed that this disc didn't come in a standard Blu-ray keepcase.  Instead it is packaged the way they used to sell CD back in the day, with a thin cardboard case that has a plastic disc holder on one side.  It's effective though I wonder how long it will take before the cover pressboard cover starts to wear.
This concert was filmed in 2002 using HD cameras that had a 1080i resolution and the resulting image looks very good, much better than a majority of concert films.  Presented with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and encoded with the MPEG-4/AVC codex, the image is presented with a lot of challenges and overcomes them all for the most part.  Being a live concert the lighting wasn't optimal for cameras yet the colors are strong and the blacks are deep and even in tone.  In low light there is some noise but overall the image is fairly sharp and the level of detail is very pleasing.  I wasn't expecting a lot image wise from this disc and was pleasantly surprised at the impressive looking transfer.  If only all concert could be filmed and presented with such care.
This concert comes with three audio tracks:  DTS-HD MA 5.1, PCM stereo, and a DD 5.1 mix.  I started with the stereo track, moved to the DTS audio for a couple of songs and then tried the DD 5.1 track before quickly switching back to the DTS-HD mix for the rest of the concert.  While I'm sure the DD 5.1 would have wowed me a decade ago, compared to the lossless tracks there is no comparison. 
The PCM stereo mix sounded great, but in comparison it didn't have the energy and immersive feeling that the DTS-HD track did.  That multichannel mix had it all, with both the lows and highs being reproduced with crystal clarity and enough force to make it feel like you were in the audience.  Smith's vocals were crisp and clear and the bass drum wasn't muffled or indistinct like it can sometimes come across.   Even with the difficulties of recording a live show, this disc sounds great.
If this was a bare bones release I wouldn't be disappointed, so the extras that Eagle Rock included are icing on the cake.  First off there are a pair of encore songs, "If Only We Could Sleep Tonight," and "The Kiss".  Those are followed by an interview with the entire band (in 480p/i.)  They talk about the history of both the group and the Trilogy as well as the setting for the concert.  The bonus section is wrapped up with some interview outtakes and alternate camera angles for two songs "Same Deep Water as You" and "Plainsong."
Final Thoughts:
Casual fans of The Cure might be a bit put off by this concert at first.  This isn't your typical show where the band plays a selection of their greatest hits.  Give it some time however, and even the most fair weather fans will be won over.  Playing three albums from start to finish is an ambitious project but The Cure rises to the occasion and creates a very impressive and worthwhile event.  A must-own for any fan of the band, this disc comes highly recommended.
Note: The images in this review are not from the Blu-ray disc and do not necessarily represent the image quality on the disc.
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