The Cure - Concert:the Cure Live
It should therefore come as no surprise that this album has to be regarded as the leading post punk live album along with Under a Blood Red Sky by U2. Given that not many bands of the genre made it to vinyl live at the time, there is not really that much in the way of competition. The Cure obviously had the confidence to do what many of their contemporaries did not. Still, there are both positives and negatives to this recording. Among the positives are the crisp and tight sound the band have managed to generate. Among the negatives is that the production is, at times, pretty poor.
"A Forest" is the stand out track and this live version rates as one of my favourite tracks of all time - the live version is far better than the studio outing. Many of the tracks on Concert were played at a faster pace than their studio recordings and so the album does gather a pace and momentum which can sometimes be lacking in the studio. The album is also more guitar-driven and less emphasis is placed upon synthesisers. I have to say I do not regard that as a bad thing for too often use of synthesisers veers towards an overuse indicative of nothing except laziness.
Unlike many post punk bands, the Cure have released a fair number of live albums over the years, probably because they have survived longer than most of their contemporaries. This was the first of those live albums, and captures the band at the height of their post punk fame, in the wake of the album which is often regarded as a classic, Pornography. As such it should be regarded with a good deal more reverence than the others of their live albums which were to follow. This was the Cure at their very best. That it contains much of the band's best material up to that time (and afterwards their standard dropped off pretty quick in my view) is an added plus. My only real criticism is that it is too short. They almost certainly had the material and should have put out a double vinyl if you ask me.
In general the band captures the essence of their music and their persona at a time before a certain ennui set into their music. For purists, the album may be slightly mistitled as it is not a single concert, but a series of them over the period of a single tour. However, to criticise it solely on that basis would be an extreme and unwarranted example of nit picking which in any event could not detract from the quality of the album overall. The sound is clear, which is unusual for a live album, if it is, as previously mentioned, a little flat at times. The vocals are outstanding, but what makes it here is the crispness of the guitar sound, a quintessentially Cure feature. Definitely worth having in your collection.
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