Paris (Elektra/Fiction 61552)
Culled from three dates in October '92 on the Wish tour, Paris is a fantastic, if totally revisionist, glimpse at the last hurrah for what some consider to be the best Cure lineup (Smith, Gallup, Thompson, Williams, Bamonte). I say revisionist because it's a single disc distillation of three different sets, each about three hours in length, presenting only the most intriguing setlist inclusions. The Cure have always been marvelously aware of just how rabid their fans are, and, like Elton John, are incredibly adept at pulling out the one song you'd never expect them to play. I think I've seen them three or four times, and each time, at some point they went into some totally unexpected gem that sent a frenzy through the crowd. Paris concocts a whole pseudo-setlist just of those moments, so needless to say, it's a Cure connoisseur's wet dream.
The disc was released in 1993 in tandem with Show, which is a bit more of a straight reflection of the typical Wish tour set. Personally I would love to have seen a three-disc set of amazing moments from that tour. Great songs, great performances, great band, great audiences. Both Show and Paris came out at probably the peak of Cure glut in record stores - it seemed like there was a new single or album out every three or four months. Nowadays, the pickings are far slimmer. What I wouldn't give to walk into a Best Buy and see four full rows of Cure "official bootlegs" a la the Pearl Jam section. And sadly, I probably could listen to thirty marginally different full-set recordings from the same tour. Well, whatever, I think it's apparent I dig live Cure.
Songs: "The Figurehead," "One Hundred Years," "At Night," "Play For Today," "Apart," "In Your House," "Lovesong," "Catch," "A Letter to Elise," "Dressing Up," "Charlotte Sometimes," "Close to Me." Of these, "Dressing Up" is the biggest surprise, "Close to Me" probably the best, and "Lovesong" and "Catch" the most disappointing (mainly because you want them to be soooo fucking good). The sound is fantastic, especially compared to the boot quality to which I've grown overly and pathetically accustomed. It's too bad that a release like Paris can be so unheralded in the overall discography, but then I guess even on its face it is essentially just a CD for the diehards. Bless 'em for even putting it out at all, saving me much time in trying to track down a boot of the original show. Goddamn irony I should have known going in that The Cure is a sickness.
Review by Wyler Welsh