The Cure


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Recorded during a performance at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan shortly after the release of Wish, Show is a difficult, if occasionally compelling live album. The first strike against the album is that it leans far too heavily toward Wish. Eight of Show's 12 songs are live renditions of songs from Wish. The second strike against the album is that the songs tend to meander. It's hard to justify the inclusion of four songs that go past the seven-minute mark. It's abundantly clear on a number of the tracks that the band is running out of steam, and that brings one to the third strike, though it's more of a foul ball. It's obvious that Robert Smith is struggling to maintain his stamina. That's not to say that he garbles his vocals or that he turns in anything other than a solid performance, but he's not able to sustain the required passion during "Friday I'm in Love" and a number of other key songs. "Pictures of You" is a definite high point, as its sad and beautiful tones ring with vigor and honesty; it's arguably more powerful here than on Disintegration, as Smith paints each word with emotion and nuance. "Just Like Heaven," one of the band's most well-known songs, is wonderfully lush, though it becomes almost too brittle at its conclusion. Stripped of the light show that accompanies the band's concert, Show loses some of its luster. That it's hard to recommend Show is a sad commentary, especially since the band performs with such conviction and since Robert Smith gives his all with every concert performance. Only the band's biggest fans, and perhaps even more narrowly those who appreciate the weaker songs of Wish, will find reason to revisit Show. Those looking for the premiere document of the Cure in a live setting should seek out the concert video In Orange.

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