Acoustic Sounds

The Cure




The Cure

Label: Fiction Records

Engineered By: Mark Robinson, Ray Mascarenas

Mixed By: Robert Smith, Bryan "Chuck" New

Mastered By: Robert Smith, Miles Showell

Lacquers Cut By: Miles Showell

By: JoE Silva

April 10th, 2024


Rock Post-Punk



Le réédition

Seminal Post-Punk Gods The Cure Revive 1993 Live Recording

If you were even mildly curious, there’s a fair chance you caved and gave yourself a preview of The Cure’s last swing across North America once the YouTube clips started to appear. Those of us who did, got an advance listen to “Alone” - the epic, and gloriously mopey opener that should be included on their long-promised (and last?) studio album. But if the tour felt like something of a stop gap move because of the record’s delay, then what can be said now about Paris, the freshly re-released double live set that’s been out of print since it first appeared in 1993?

At the time singer Robert Smith told MTV’s 120 Minutes:

“We recorded three nights in Paris much later in (1992 and) everything had changed…the mood within the group had changed. The songs had all changed. It's much more of a hardcore fan sort of album. They're really old songs, and it's a lot slower.”

Paris appeared Grateful Dead-like a little more than a month after the concert film/album Show, which got its own two-LP reissue as part of the 2023 Record Store Day deluge. But that collection was a more hit-centric reflection of what the band had morphed into by mid-1992 – alternative curiosities whose faces had suddenly been kissed by the stadium lights.

The latter of the two albums was recorded over three nights at Le Zénith de Paris in October of the same year. Originally released on CD, cassette, and double vinyl, the idea was to give half the royalties from this second collection to The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in support of international relief work. Then it simply disappeared.  

Fast forward to 2024 and now we’re getting a revived mix by Smith plus two additional tracks to compliment the original 12. This time around the running order gets significantly tweaked and is noticeably far stronger for it. The new pressing, which was mastered by Smith and Abbey Road’s Miles Showell, comes in at nearly 180 grams. But like the original, this version of Paris still doesn’t come in a gatefold sleeve or contain any extensive notes, which feels like a misstep thirty years down the road.

Yet those tiny grievances tend to come loose once the rumbling toms signal the arrival of “Shake Dog Shake” - a potent declaration of grim intent that now serves as the album’s launch pad. That track, which kicked off 1984’s The Top, is far heavier in the rendering here and instantly ramps up the excitement in a way “The Figurehead” (which now follows it…) couldn’t really do the first time around. And “Play For Today,” which hadn’t seen a lot of action in the late 80’s, closes out side 1 as enthusiastic sing along. Other highlights include “In Your House,” another “Seventeen Seconds” track where bassist Simon Gallup’s contribution is up front and punchy unlike the wooly and muted treatment it was given in the studio. “A Letter To Elise” was released to streaming earlier this year as one of the teaser singles and it's easy to hear why. Smith’s piteous vocals are captured as warmly and detailed as the interplay between himself and exiting guitarist Porl Thompson. The final side of the four squeezes in five tracks including a lovely version of the 1987 single “Catch” (now mostly disappeared from their live set) and the rousing closer “Hot! Hot! Hot!” which was the other track excised from the 1993 release.

Sound-wise this is a fantastic collection. Boris Williams drums are tightly presented and muscular. The synths, played by then recent roadie turned keyboardist and aux guitarist Perry Bamonte, are as glacial as you remember, and Smith’s vocals are still incredibly well-suited to the cavernous reverb laid into the proceedings. And if Gallup’s bass doesn’t often shift the low end like you might expect for a record that was originally mixed by one-time Jive in-house producer Bryan “Chuck” New and again to some extent by Smith himself, it probably has more to do with the fact that his rig has always lived closer to the midrange than most.

Smith once told the BBC that he thought that the best live albums sound rough, but now that he and The Cure have been given the belfry or some other tiny dark alcove inside the (laughable) Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, we suspect he thinks otherwise. Paris goes from one melodic strength to another while keeping firmly within the shadowy outlines that the band mapped out for themselves over forty years ago. And while a fair amount of their live career is in fact documented unofficially, vinyl hunters who prefer sanctioned records like this one would have to stretch up into three figures to slide an original into their Kallax units. This reissue then is a must for the devoted or for anyone who wants a sense of just how great they could sound at what some may consider to be Everest peak of their career.

Music Specifications

Catalog No: 484 799-1

Pressing Plant: Optimal Media GmbH

Speed/RPM: 33 1/3

Weight: 180 grams

Size: 12"

Channels: Stereo

Presentation: Multi LP


  • 2024-04-11 10:26:45 PM

    Michael Kaye wrote:

    Cannot wait to get this! Love the review and your take on The Cure. Can you believe that The Cure was NEVER on the cover of the US edition of ROLLING STONE ? Crazy.

  • 2024-04-12 09:07:33 AM

    Jimhb wrote:

    I’m in 100% agreement. Outside of Concert, this remains the best Cure live album. Thankfully, Miles and Robert did an exception on the reissue. Highly recommended!!!

  • 2024-04-12 09:07:39 AM

    Jimhb wrote:

    I’m in 100% agreement. Outside of Concert, this remains the best Cure live album. Thankfully, Miles and Robert did an exception on the reissue. Highly recommended!!!

  • 2024-04-16 09:58:33 AM

    Georges wrote:

    No studio album since 2008... & again the last two were very mediocre.