Play Out- The Cure

imagesRelease Year: 1992

Rating: 8/10

Out of all The Cure video releases I always found this one odd. It’s not exactly a concert film or a behind the scenes look at a particular tour. Rather, we follow the band for a week while they make the rounds in both London and the States. While it may not be their most exciting release, it is their most intriguing as it features footage that has still not been released on DVD. Along with the live performances there is also behind the scenes and rehearsal footage that keeps the video moving.

The tape opens with rehearsals for a club show in London where we get a see slow rendition of “Wendy Time.” What’s notable about this rehearsal and the performance that follows it is these songs from Wish were played a year before the album’s release. It’s cool and exciting to hear these tracks in their infancy, but there are moments when it’s pretty clear when they aren’t done, such as when Robert begins mumbling the words. Another thing that’s notable about this set is it has one of the only performances of the b-side “The Big Hand.” This track was intended for the album, but apparently Smith wasn’t happy with it and regulated it to b-side status. Though the song is great this moody rendition is my favorite.

The second set of footage shows a few songs from their set at Wembley, which includes their most notable tracks from Disintegration. As always the band sounds great and Robert is his usual quirky self. I love the way he pulls out his odd dance moves during certain songs like “Lullaby,” where he pretends to be a lurking spider. What’s even more interesting is during just about all the backstage footage we get, Robert is doing his best to avoid any and all cameras. He hardly even looks at them. Before the show starts some media wants to come in and film some footage of the band and Smith looks as if he wants to hide in his over-sized sweater. If anything it makes him more endearing and charming.

The best set here and the one that makes the video worth getting are the scenes and rehearsals from MTV unplugged. Before we get to the actual show, we see The Cure practicing both “The Walk” and “The Blood” in a London studio. Not only do we get to hear a live acoustic rendition of the latter song, they actually play kazoos on “The Walk.” Yes, it sounds as silly as it does in your head. No matter how hard Robert tries to focus even he can’t help it and begins to laugh after a while. We also get backstage footage from MTV unplugged. It’s mainly just the band discussing the set list and walking out onstage, but considering that nothing from this performance has been officially released it’s still really cool to watch. This part also includes two songs from the show: “Letters to Elise” and “Boys Don’t Cry.”

To top off the week we follow The Cure to the 1991 Brit Awards where they were scheduled to perform. But before they begin sound check, they sit around talking about whether or not their manager knows if they’ve won anything. My favorite part during the rehearsals is when Simon Gallup hands Robert a beverage. Robert hesitantly drinks it and then makes a face that looks like he just swallowed a bug. It’s both adorable and hilarious. We also get a rare treat of the band or rather Simon Gallup, acting like a true rock star. Back at their Fiction office Gallup brings in a bunch of snow and then decides to toss it out the window. During the award ceremony they perform “Never Enough” and even manage to win Best British Band with Roger Daltry doing the honors. Afterwords, we see more backstage footage of the band quietly celebrating with some drinks.

Overall, the video gets 8/10. If you want to see some Wish-era songs live, along with some backstage footage then check out this release. Keep in mind The Cure aren’t crazy rock stars, so there aren’t many shenanigans to witness, but the footage still manages to be entertaining. The best performances on this tape come from MTV Unplugged mainly because it still has not been released, so this is the closest you’re going to get to owning any bit of it. This video often gets overshadowed by the more popular In Orange, but if you actually take the time to watch it, this will soon become one of your favorites.

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