Concert: The Cure Live is a live album from the Goth-rock band the Cure perform live for shows at the Hammersmith Odeon in London May 1984 and at Oxford that same month during the band’s tour for The Top. Produced by Robert Smith and David M. Allen, the live album is the band’s first in their career consisting material from the band’s first five albums. With the line-up of singer/guitarist Robert Smith, guitarist/keyboardist Porl Thompson, bassist Phil Thornalley, keyboardist Lol Tolhurst, and drummer Andy Anderson. The result is a good though inconsistent live album from the Cure.
Opening the live album is Shake Dog Shake with its mid-tempo presentation and swirling guitars with Smith singing the song’s angry lyrics. While the performance of the song is really good, the mixing is a bit rough as Phil Thornalley’s bass isn’t heard as it’s overshadowed by the guitars, drums, and Smith’s vocals. Primary is driven by its driving bass and guitars along with Andy Anderson’s pummeling drum fills as Smith the song’s morose lyrics with his wailing vocals as it’s one of the highlights of the record. Charlotte Sometimes is another highlight with its swooning keyboards from Porl Thompson and Lol Tolhurst and Smith’s strumming guitars as he calmly sings the song’s melancholic lyrics.
The Hanging Garden is led by Anderson’s pounding bass drum fills with Thornalley’s rumbling bass lines and swirling guitars from Smith and Thompson. Smith sings the song with its harrowing lyrics as his vocals are a highlight of the song with its broad yet menacing performance. Give Me It is a raucous song with fast-hammering drums and Thompson blaring on a saxophone to charging guitars with Smith’s wailing vocals. Despite the performance, the song sounds rough with its low mix on bass and keyboards in the song. The Walk is one of the Cure’s great songs as Anderson brings some amazing drum fills with Thornalley’s bass but the keyboards from Tolhurst and Thompson don’t sound so great in its mix despite Smith’s calm vocal performances and ringing guitar.
One Hundred Years is presented with its harrowing, steady mid-tempo rhythm with swirling guitars and Smith’s nihilistic lyrics as it’s one of the band’s best songs. Unfortunately, Thornalley’s bass isn’t properly mixed as it’s barely heard in the song along Tolhurst’s keyboards in the song. A Forest is another highlight thanks in part to the driving bass lines from Phil Thornalley along with Anderson’s upbeat drums and the dual synthesizers of Tolhurst and Thompson. With Smith on guitar and singing, it’s one of the songs that is properly mixed.
10:15 Saturday Night is led by Anderson’s hard-hitting drums with the driving guitars of Smith and Thompson as Smith sings the song’s dark lyrics. While the performance is great, the mix for the song overall is a bit of mess with the guitars sounding rough and the bass is barely heard in the track. The album closer is Killing An Arab that is led by its bopping rhythm and Smith’s screaming vocals as he plays swirling guitars to the song’s dark lyrics. While the performance is swift, the mix is an issue as there’s some spots in the song that is a bit rough though it provides a nice close to the album.
Released on October 22, 1984, the album was released in different formats where the cassette version included additional material from 1977 to 1984 filled with live rarities that appeared on its B-side. Over the years, the material from the cassette version of Concert became rare until 2004 when all of the material would finally appear through the deluxe reissues for the Cure’s early albums from Three Imaginary Boys to The Top.
Concert: The Cure Live is a pretty stellar live album that has some great moments to give fans an idea of what the band sounded like back in 1984. Yet, like a lot of live recordings, it’s rough in spots where some of the mixing isn’t very good in varied places. It’s a record that hardcore fans of the Cure will want to have though it’s not really one of their essential albums as the live records they make later on would have superior mixing and performances. In the end, Concert: The Cure Live is a pretty good record with some moments that fans of the Cure will enjoy.
The Cure Studio Albums: Three Imaginary Boys - Seventeen Seconds - Faith - Pornography - The Top - The Head on the Door - Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me - Disintegration - Wish - Wild Mood Swings - Bloodflowers - The Cure - 4:13 Dream
Compilations: Staring at the Sea/Standing on a Beach - Mixed Up - Galore - Greatest Hits - Join the Dots
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