Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Cure-Show

Show is the first of two live albums from the Cure chronicling their 1992 tour for the album Wish. Recorded at the Palace of Auburn Hills near Detroit, Michigan, the live album (in differing versions) has the band play many songs from the album Wish along with other classic songs from their career. Produced by Robert Smith and mixed by Smith and Bryan “Chuck” New, the live album is among one of the better documents of the Cure as a live act.

Opening the album is a track called Tape which is essentially an intro track that meshes swirling guitars and keyboards with Smith’s vocals that segues to the song Open. Led by Simon Gallup’s melodic bass line and Boris Williams’ pummeling beats, the blaring guitars of Porl Thompson, Perry Bamonte, and Robert Smith takes charge as he sings to the song’s dark lyrics. High, with its heartwarming lyrics, is among one of the key performances of the album with its arpeggio-laden guitars and six-string bass playing from Smith and Bamonte. Pictures of You, from Disintegration, is given a dazzling performance for its mid-tempo presentation filled with broad keyboard textures and Smith’s vocals being a highlight of the performance.

Lullaby, from that same album, features screams from the fans once Bamonte’s swooning synthesizer appears for the upbeat, mid-tempo song with its creepy lyrics as Smith sings in a direct vocal style. Just Like Heaven is another highlight early in the album as it’s one of the Cure’s most popular song with its swift, driving guitar chimes and rumbling beats with Smith singing the song with pure joy. Fascination Street, an additional track on the two-disc version of the album, is led by Gallup’s pummeling bass line and Thompson’s swirling guitar to kick off one of the most haunting cuts in the album. A Night Like This, from The Head on the Door, is given a more upbeat drive to the song with Williams’ pounding beats and blaring guitars that take charge including a guitar solo in place of the saxophone solo from the original recording.

The ballad Trust that is led by a somber piano track to complement the song’s despaired tone as it includes a wonderfully fluid yet evocative synthesizer track. Kicking the second half of the album is Doing the Unstuck where it starts off as an acoustic solo by Smith only for the band to follow in an exciting yet soaring performance with wailing guitars and powerful rhythms. The next two cuts are bonus tracks from the two-disc version of the live album in the pulsating, new wave track The Walk and the more poppy, synthesizer-driven Let’s Go to Bed as they’re both greeted with excited fanfare. Particularly as the songs are given a fuller sound with a full band to add more punch to the songs.

Friday I’m In Love is another song that’s gotten great fanfare as it’s one of the more upbeat songs on the album with its driving guitars and inspired performances with its bopping rhythm. Inbetween Days, from The Head on the Door, is another upbeat performance that includes Bamonte’s soaring synthesizer taking charge to the song’s evocative lyrics as Smith sings with great delight. From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea is another highlight with its blaring guitars, driving rhythm, and Smith’s snarling vocals as it would become a fan favorite in live shows. The hard-rocking Never Enough arrives with its hammering beats and charging guitars as Smith sings in a fast, angry vocal style. Cut with its crashing rhythms, wobbly bass, and swirling guitars help maintain the heaviness as Smith sings with his wailing vocals. Closing the live album is End with its down-tempo yet ominous presentation with droning guitars and rumbling rhythms as Smith sings to close the show.

Released on October 19, 1993, the album was released in three different versions. With the two-disc and cassette version featuring a standard track listing, the single-disc version excluded Fascination Street, The Walk, and Let’s Go to Bed as they would appear in the Sideshow EP while the single disc also shortened the intro to mesh with Open as one track. Another version of the record that featured five bonus cuts was a CD-i version that was a precursor to the DVD that was a rarity. Even as it included cuts like To Wish Impossible Things, Primary, Boys Don’t Cry, Why Can’t I Be You, and A Forest.

Show is an excellent live album that provides a great live document of the Cure outside of bootlegs. In comparison to previous live albums the band has released, it’s one of the better ones though Paris is more superior due to the rarities it offers. It’s a record that is a decent introduction for new fans interested in what the band sounds like live though it is something that hardcore fans will enjoy. In the end, Show is a dazzling yet exciting live album from the Cure.

© thevoid99 2011

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