Album Info

RELEASE
November 23, 1993
LABEL
Elektra
GENRES
Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Goth Rock, Post-Punk, Punk/New Wave, Alternative Pop/Rock, College Rock, New Wave

Album Review

The Cure's second full-concert film shows the band on the Detroit stop of its 1992 American tour in support of Wish, directed by Aubrey Powell and Leroy Bennett. It was done both because Smith was tired of people thinking The Cure in Orange represented the group in concert and because of Thompson's imminent departure after the tour's completion. After its release, Smith expressed the feeling that the results weren't what they could be, but if anything Smith is being unduly harsh. While a different film in visual feel than Orange, Show is actually a fairly strong effort, showcasing some excellent performances and often perfectly capturing the visual and performative charisma of Smith and company in a surprisingly close, intimate fashion. Structurally, Show and Orange are similar in that both capture a performance without narrative, interviews or any sort of detailed behind-the-scenes look. Show does have an interesting framing device at the start, though, filming a wide variety of the concertgoers as they assemble, hang around and kill time waiting for the show to start, while "Tape," the instrumental introduction piece the band used on this tour, plays on the soundtrack. Though there are more than a few people gothed up in terms of looks, if anything it shows that Smith's contention of a far wider fanbase than might be guessed is true, with a wide variety of looks and sorts featured. The segment is also filmed in grainy sepia, making for a quietly dramatic shift when the show is featured in clear, clean color. The show itself is mostly captured on the live soundtrack album (and in America the accompanying Sideshow EP), but interestingly the film is the much better way to experience Show. Partially this has to do with the fluid flow of the filming - it's much like Orange, but with a wider array of angles, camera shots and especially close-ups. Cameras swoop in close to the performers, even Williams, who tended to be in the background of most Orange shots, and whose fan-blown hair, energetic performance and the like actually help him stand out quite a bit. Gallup and Thompson also get their fair share of time, the former indulging in his favored combination of spot-on bass and just-strong-enough rock-out fun, while Bamonte isn't so ill-served himself. As for Smith, he projects the same aura of slight uncomfortableness and playful intensity as in Orange, but the camera just knows how to treat him right, with gentle close-ups, pans around his face, and more. Happily the final cut keeps in quite a few fun exchanges of nods, winks and smiles between the bandmembers, helping show they're not the gloom-laden doomhounds of myth. At one point Smith even sneaks in a quick riff on the Kinks' "All Day and All of the Night" before "Inbetween Days." The band's great performance throughout, meanwhile, is immeasurably enchanced by the great set - a crumbling Greek temple and light show song for song, sometimes accompanied by particular films and images. It's a very artistic set-up for a rock show and works much better than might be guessed. With the material from Kiss Me, Disintegration and Wish to draw on, Show also provides a good contrast to Orange in terms of the band's commercial ascendance. The audience reaction to numbers like "Just Like Heaven" and "Lullaby" shows that much! The real treasure of Show, however, appears at the end with the encore, which didn't appear on the soundtrack album at all. Besides strong runthroughs of older number like "Primary" and "Boys Don't Cry," there's an astonishingly beautiful version of Wish's "To Wish Impossible Things" and, to wrap it all up, a monster version of "A Forest" that's the best of all the officially released versions yet. If nothing else, one thing about the Cure hasn't changed at all between Orange and Show - Smith's between-song comments are still incomprehensible.
Ned Raggett, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Tape
  2. Open
  3. High
  4. Pictures of You
  5. Lullaby
  6. Just Like Heaven
  7. Fascination Street
  8. A Night Like This
  9. Trust
  10. Doing the Unstuck
  11. The Walk
  12. Lets Go to Bed
  13. Friday I'm in Love
  14. In Between Days
  15. From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea
  16. Never Enough
  17. Cut
  18. End