THE SOUNDS OF EXPERIENCE #2
Welcome to the second issue of “The Sounds of Experience“, a bi-monthly tentative to make you discover or re-discover albums from the past and present.
Music is social and the best social experience with music is not the repetitive discotheque, but the live concert. Being 14 years-old in the mid-eighties in Lyon was a real challenge if you wanted to enjoy live music. No real arena, no tours and no really active local scene. Going to a concert meant train tickets + hotel nights, hard concepts for your parents to swallow when you’re still a fresh teen. The cool guys at school had super cool parents: they let them go to concerts. There was this guy, a prophet: he brought to school a 12″ extended single of this super strange brit band called The Cure.
The song was entitled “The Caterpillar”, a poppy psychedelic lullaby about an insect-like girl. The prophet explained to me that the band would come play in Grenoble, a mid-size city 1h south-east of Lyon, in the Alps. Everything was cool about the plan: his older bro was going and he was as cool as his prophet sibling. We would drive (he had a Peugeot 104 with a cool plastic spoiler) to Grenoble, watch The Cure and come back late in the night.
But Dad said no. I missed the show. The cool guys went and I stayed home.
The Cure had the good idea to issue, a few months later, a live album from this tour. This was my “first” experience with a live album and Concert is still, according to me, one of the best live recording ever (with U2’s Under A Blood Red Sky and Depeche Mode 101).
2 months after, Dad let me go to the newly inaugurated Halle Tony Garnier to see Tears For Fears. Better than nothing. Shout, shout, let it all out.
Ok, now the album.
(The classic black cover of The Cure 1984 live album – Concert: The Cure Live)
We all know about The Cure. The Cure IS Robert Smith, the Goth icon with the eyeliner and the Jaguar guitar. Even if the band had some faithful musicians, like bassist Simon Gallup or drummer / keyboardist Laurence Tolhurst, The Cure never had the same line-up for longer than a year. In 1984, The Cure is only Robert Smith. The Crawley boy just issued the band 5th album, “The Top”, an almost solo production recorded with studio musicians like Phil Thornalley and Andy Anderson. I would personally vote the formation that would tour “The Top” the best Cure live line-up of all times, with Anderson absolutely pounding the drums and guitarist Porl Thompson’s airplane engine guitar sound. “Concert”, a ten-track selection from this tour was recorder in London and Oxford. The cassette version of the album, entitled “Curiosity (Killing the Cat): Cure Anomalies” added 2 extra titles, “All Mine” and “Forever”, non-album tracks also taken from the tour, plus older live rarities.
Concert starts with the heavy “Shake Dog Shake”, taken from “The Top” and is followed by a powerful version of “Primary”, a 1981 track from the gloomy “Faith” album. But the best part of the set is the final trilogy of “A Forest”, “10-15 Saturday Night” and the notorious “Killing An Arab”, Cure’s first single from 1977 – a disturbingly titled song about Albert Camus’ “The Stranger”. Concert features other Cure essentials, like “One Hundred years” and the non-album single rarity “Charlotte Sometimes”, a gloomy ballad but a real Cure fan’s favorite. Even the weaker 1983 single “The Walk” sounds amazing!
Never again will The Cure play these titles with so much energy and strength. Smith’s guitar is saturated with effects and Anderson drums like a machine. The accompanying video, filmed in Japan, really shows the quality of delivery of every song. Sadly, the album is only a 10 tracks abstract of what should have been a way much longer performance.
Strangely, Concert was not among the recent Cure Albums re-issues and the CD version is really poor, like most of the early CDs. The vinyl and the super-hard-to-find Curiosity cassette are still the only options to enjoy the punk-edged rendition of these classic Cure songs played live by the best “Cure” ever.
A final note: Cure in 1984 is an alternative punk-rock band. Concert will deceive the “Just Like Heaven” and “Friday I’m in Love” enthusiasts…
Listen to Concert: The Cure Live on Itunes’ French Store
(With my personal rating out of 5 *****)
- Shake Dog Shake – ***
- Primary – *****
- Charlottes Sometimes – ****
- The Hanging Garden – ****
- Give me it – ***
- The Walk – ***
- One Hundred Years – ****
- A Forest – *****
- 10-15 Saturday Night – *****
- Killing An Arab – *****
Extra Tracks (Tape version) – Curiosity (Killed the Cat): Cure Anomalies
- Heroin Face – ***
- Boys Don’t Cry – ****
- Subway Song – *****
- At Night – ****
- In Your House – ****
- The Drowning Man – *****
- Other Voices – ****
- The Funeral Party – ****
- All Mine – ****
- Forever (Version) – *****
From the same artist
Listen to 1993’s PARIS, the other great live album from The Cure, from the Wish Tour.