The Cure
Hotel Konrad Sessions

If the Internet has resulted in one seismic advance outside the world of porn, in my opinion it has been in the dissemination of great bootlegs. I stumbled upon Hotel Konrad Sessions while seeking out some new Cure boots, and was amazed at the contents.

I've amassed a slightly insane little collection of Cure boots, but for the most part, they've been full arena shows, and/or the occasional studio rarity collection. This wonderful release, however, captures a truly rare moment in time: Robert Smith and keyboardist Roger O'Donnell taking over the piano bar in their hotel until the wee hours of the morning, drinks obviously flowing, entertaining an extremely small crowd with well-known Cure songs and jams stripped down to just piano, voice, and drum machine.

Robert and Roger are clearly having loads of fun (and lots to drink) as they meander their way through some famous Cure songs, increasingly blurry as the night progresses. The audience (from the sound of it, only a handful of people) seems remarkably savvy, responding with riotous laughter when Robert turns a chorus of "The Lovecats" into a parody of "The Love Boat Theme." Many, many such priceless moments dot the disc.

Though the folks in the room occasionally call out for stuff like "Let it Be" (Robert does not take the bait), they're smart enough to recognize that the cheesy drum machine beat that provides the backing to most of the songs recalls "Easy Lover" by Phil Collins and Philip Bailey; otherwise, they mostly listen in a spirit of awe and genuine support as Robert and Roger plow through a bunch of songs, frequently in complete self-deprecation or tongue-in-cheek jazziness (one jam even incorporates "Take Five" … credibly!).

As the evening wears on, the tone becomes more dour and introspective, almost as though everyone has had enough to drink that they've gone into the social equivalent of the fetal position. I can't say I've ever heard a disc that so accurately captures progressive late-night drunkenness to such a tee, especially as it might intersect with great musicians.

The sound quality is dodgy, but the moment is spellbinding enough to excuse it. I think this boot has circulated in a two-disc format, though the one I heard was only one disc (seemingly missing a few of the performances). Still, I certainly got the point. You'd have to be something of a Cure connoisseur to listen to this session all the way through, but if you are one, you'll be utterly fucking knocked out.

Review by La Fée