Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
on 3 January 2013
Having read the reviews of this album, I'd have to say that I disagree with most of them in some part. I have been listening to this endlessly over the past few days, especially disc 1. Although a big Cure fan in the early 80s, I did lose some interest when they started producing pure pop songs like Lovecats or Caterpillar, though I appreciate that these were some of their most popular tunes. This live set reflects their extensive back-catalogue, so you get the pop as well as the doom and despair.
There are a few criticisms made which seem odd to me. Firstly, the trebly drum sound is quite excellent and provides a driving rhythm to all the songs. I could listen to it all day (and I have been). It's a drum sound that I especially like, also favouring that of Simple Minds' Mel Gaynor, and the hugely crisp and trebly sound on Steel Pulse's Live at the Rastafari Centennial album. It's good to have a sound that cuts through the mix and that provides real energy.
The second point raised is that it's a pity Porl Thompson isn't playing as The Cure requires two guitars. Not so. Simon Gallup's bass acts like a lead guitar at times, playing outstanding riffs way up the neck, rather than just plonking away in the background like so many bass players. This was a style which became prevalent in the late 70s with the likes of The Stranglers or Joy Division. So there is an interplay between Gallup and Smith that makes a second guitar largely superfluous.
The third criticism levelled is that Smith is just going through the motions with his singing. I can't understand this at all. On tracks like Open or A Night Like This, it sounds as if he means every word. Rarely has the lyrics of despair been voiced so eloquently.
This set has a unique sound, in some respects thanks to Smith's extensive use of flangers and phasers which fill the space. Add in driving rhythms, angry bass lines and from-the-heart-vocals and you end up with an enthralling live album that sounds a lot better than Concert (in which A Hundred Years is way too fast, and Shake Dog Shake is inferior to this version here).
It is, quite simply, a superb live album which will be appreciated by all those fans of The Cure who aren't Cure anoraks.