Paris is the second of two live albums the Cure released in the fall of 1993 chronicling the band’s tour for their 1992 album Wish. Unlike its predecessor Show which focused largely on that album plus various hit songs, this record focuses more on the band’s earlier records plus rare album cuts as the band plays the song live at Le Zenith de Paris on October of 1992. The result is a much more fascinating yet exhilarating live album from the Cure.
Opening the album is the down-tempo yet brooding The Figurehead, from Pornography, that features a slow, rumbling drum fill from Boris Williams along with Simon Gallup’s driving bass line. Featuring swooning, arpeggio-laden guitars from Robert Smith, Porl Thompson, and Perry Bamonte, Smith sings the song’s morose lyrics of despair for a calm yet fiery performance from the band. One Hundred Years with its blaring guitars, pummeling rhythms, and somber keyboards take charge as Smith sings the song’ nihilistic lyrics as it’s one of the album’s highlights. At Night, from Seventeen Seconds, is a mid-tempo song that includes a droning guitar drive with steady beats and an ominous synthesizer to help maintain the dark tone of the entire show with Smith singing the song’s haunting lyrics.
Play for Today is a more up-tempo track that is led by sputtering beats and Simon Gallup’s wobbly bass line that is followed by washy guitars and a soothing synthesizer lines that the crowd sings to as Smith snarls through the song with his vocals. Apart is an eerie ballad with a slow, throbbing rhythm, flourishing guitar arpeggios, smooth synthesizers, and Smith’s calm vocals. In Your House is a mid-tempo track with a bopping rhythm, ringing guitar melodies, and soft synthesizers to play up the song’s melancholia. Lovesong, from Disintegration, is among one of the highlights with great cheers from the audience as the mid-tempo love song with its calm, mid-tempo rhythm and presentation is among one of the highlights of the record.
Catch, from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, is led by Bamonte’s swooning synthesizers and Williams’s soft, cadence-like drumming as Smith sings the heartwarming ballad with driving guitars and quiet bass lines. A Letter to Elise arrives as the mid-tempo ballad filled with swirling guitar flourishes and throbbing rhythms while Smith sings the song’s longing lyrics. Dressing Up, from The Top, is among one of the album’s big surprises with its flowing keyboard chimes, sturdy bass lines, and Smith’s wailing vocals as it’s greeted with cheers from fans. Charlotte Sometimes is another song that is played to great fanfare as it is carried by a swooning synthesizer and a slightly, more up-tempo rhythm to the song as Smith sings the somber song. Closing the live album is the poppy Close to Me with Gallup’s bumping bass line, Williams’ steady drum, spurting guitars, and soft synthesizers while Smith sings the song to great enthusiasm.
Released on October 26, 1993, a week after the release of Show, the album also had a special notice that half of the proceeds from the record would go to the Red Cross charity. With some fans preferring this album over Show, it was a record that indicated the Cure’s popularity worldwide proving that they were still viable in the era of grunge rock in the U.S. and Brit-Pop’s arrival in the U.K.
Paris is a superb live album from the Cure that offer fans something more than just hits. With Show, it makes a great companion piece as both albums provide something hardcore fans of the Cure will enjoy. Of the live albums the band has released, this record is among the best due to its emphasis on obscurities rather than hits. In the end, Paris is an excellent live document from the Cure.
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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