Fine presentation of a once-great band clearly past it's peak
I've been a fan of this band for about twenty-years now so I was pleasantly surprised to find out about this 60 minute segment on HDNet TV of a Cure show from June of this past year. The presentation of the band was for all intents and purposes very nice. It was not 'The Cure In Orange' (their amazing feature-length filmed concert by Tim Pope - which is sobbing to be released on DVD) but few films are. No fast editing and all four band members gets a decent amount of screen time which was nice.
I've have personally found The Cure's past few releases to be slightly lacking (in inspiration perhaps) and haven't seen them live in many years. In any case the main problem with The Cure's performance was that songs that themselves that were once nearly mid-tempo are now very slow and fast numbers are now nearly mid-tempo (to be generous). I've seen several older bands of late (Gang Of Four, The Police, The Fleshtones) and something I've learned from them is that being older in age doesn't necessarily mean slowing down the arrangements of your songs because you are few years older (case in point "The Walk" and "Primary"). I don't know if drummer Jason Cooper has much to do with slowing down the arrangements but they are, in turn a different band than before with little distinction in different tempos. This was not the case when old drummer Boris Williams was in the fold. Use of keyboards are also sorely lacking (always a constant in the past - now all keyboard parts are done on guitar).
Another unfortunate is Robert Smith's voice. He's always been one with a distinctive voice, although not a very big voice at that. It's now limp, whiny and fully-exposed in a live setting. This doesn't help their cause for a great live show.
And not to kick a band when they are obviously down (so to speak) but I was actually embarrassed watching two (nearly) fifty-year old men (Robert Smith and Porl Thompson) wearing eye make-up and (in Smith's case) the silly haircut. These are things that probably should have been in been eased out of the image in the mid-nineties. All one has to do is look at picture-perfect bassist Simon Gallup and wonder what Robert and Porl are (or not in this case) thinking. Image is not important (especially in terms of what makes music such as The Cures' successful)and it's just embarrassing and unfortunate when the band leader doesn't realize that himself and insists on wearing the silly make-up. It would be easy for someone unfamiliar with the band to view the make-up motif as style over substance. And to think that this band was at one time supposedly "anti-image".
However if you are a fan that believes The Cure can do no wrong - obviously you'll eat this performance up.
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