Credit: Youtube

Rare footage of The Cure’s sensational performance of ‘A Forest’ in New York City, 1980

It’s easy to get drawn into the eyeliner and flagrant use of hairspray of The Cure and the enigma they’ve created around themselves. So often referred to as a ‘goth’ band, The Cure developed their skills in the unnerving depths of post-punk.

This is where we find Robert Smith and the band in this rare footage, performing their post-punk anthem ‘A Forest’ in New York City way back in 1980. A band continuing to establish themselves artistically and assert themselves theatrically.

The second single released from The Cure’s seminal sophomore album Seventeen Seconds, ‘A Forest’ has become a fan favourite for over 40 years and here it is performed with extra verve. It remains a shining beacon of The Cure’s ‘punkified’ roots before they became a worldwide hit and took over North America in the eighties.  

The audio and film quality of the footage is simply fantastic for the eighties and we’re very happy to bring it to you. These amazing early videos were shot by Charles Libin and Paul Cameron, and are taken from The Cure’s performances at The Hurrah nightclub on 15th, 16th, 17th April 1980. It was a special time for the band as the began to find their new balance.  

The group arrived in America on April 10th, 1980, and found themselves at the beginning of something spectacular. Although it would be some time before they gained their commercial success and heightened fame across the pond, The Cure, in these US shows, got a taste of the big time at a relatively early moment of their career.  

The band explain in the book ‘Ten Imaginary Years’ about the feeling of arriving in the US. Smith recalled, “We’d obtained cult status out there but we only played New York, Philly, Washington and Boston. We played three nights — 15, 16 and 17th — at Hurrah in New York and it was packed.” The cult following didn’t necessarily mean the band were riding high in luxury tour buses.

“It was done on a shoe-string budget,” remembers Simon Gallup. However, that wouldn’t dampen which, at the time at least., was a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the US of A. “It was lots of fun. Instead of having cans of beer backstage, we’d have shots of Southern Comfort!”

“It was like a holiday. Even at this point, everything we did, we didn’t think we’d be doing again,” confirms Smith in the same book. “So we used to go to bed at about five in the morning and get up again at eight just to go out and see New York.” The band’s performance doesn’t seem to lag at all, regardless of the tough self-imposed schedule the tourists had.

The footage of the band proves that they were always going to be stars. Effortlessly, the band spew through an incredible set laden with hits from their album Seventeen Seconds, with ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ and ‘A Forest’ to a sumptuous reaction.  

Watch the footage of the full set below that.

The Cure setlist:

  • ‘Three Imaginary Boys’ – 0:01
  • ‘Fire In Cairo’ – 2:55
  • ‘In Your House’ – 5:50
  • ‘M’ – 9:29
  • ‘10.15 Saturday Night’ – 12:33
  • ‘At Night’ – 16:05
  • ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ – 21:26
  • ‘Jumping Someone Else’s Train’ – 24:01
  • ‘Another Journey By Train’ – 26:21
  • ‘A Forest’ – 29:49
  • ‘Secrets’ – 35:58
  • ‘Killing An Arab’ – 39:00

Via: Post-Punk

Subscribe to our newsletter
Delivering curated content