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Live review by Dave Roberts
Order (on) form
Look: I know the Hacienda's intentions are honourable, but the
original ideas behind the club - an 'alternative' meeting place for
Manchester's hitherto neglected youth - are fading fast and it's
becoming little more than a barn of pretence. So: Welcome to the New
In fact, tonight had the special atmosphere that's been lacking in
recent months. Relaxed but expectant, too many people were crammed into
too few viewing areas; as long as you didn't mind watching the band on
a video screen all evening, then you were OK!
Four anonymous figures (Bernard, Steven, Peter and Gillian to you)
took the stage to a particularly intense reception. This was a glimpse
of delight that was to be repeated at regular intervals throughout the
performance but, just as often, it was to be soiled by the blatant
mediocrity of much of the set.
Tell me more! Tell me more! New Order were both exciting and
frustrating at the same time - which can leave an objective viewpoint
sitting firmly on it's rational sense. One moment you can be
exhilarated by something as close to perfection as 'Temptation'; the
next you will be suffocated by the dour rubbing of 'Too Late'.
Schizophrenia? Why not! Firstly, as mentioned before, the music was
at once both stirring and stagnant and, secondly, the group themselves
still seemed to be conscious of their inbuilt heritage.
The unfair but inevitable comparison with Joy Division has always
followed New Order, and their efforts to break away from this seem to
have left the band confused. Their attempts to create 'something new'
are blurred, with a decided lack of direction except for that negative
one of not wanting to be JD mk II.
But occasionally, New Order have produced some magnificent music in
the form of 'Temptation', 'Ceremony' and 'Denial', or at least 'magic
moments'. These are as genuinely moving as anything JD ever produced.
It's now down to the band to shed their albatross without falling into
The unfamiliar songs (after all, this was designed to preview the
band's new album) seemed to show a neat development, with continued
emphasis on those distinctive keyboard rhythms that Yazoo turned into a
commercial enterprise. The drumming, too, was particularly impressive,
combining with rhythm machines to provide up-tempo dance beats or
Give me more! Give me more! This performance came after a long period
of inactivity from New Order. With the release of only one single in
the whole of 1982, this is not only cheating their followers but
cheating themselves as well.
Although the next step is a vitally important one, we have waited
long enough. Sure, the Factory publicity policy is admirable - but
hardly practical when people do not get to hear what is important.
Now is the time to start doing interviews; now is the time to
release that long overdue second LP; now is the time to shed those
elitist fetters that hinder this band so much and start playing
concerts for their true followers rather than these trendy 'events'.
Many are losing their patience: But let's hope that New Order have
the heart to go all the way. Gloriously.
Last updated on 2005-03-07 9:43:00 PM - 9:43:00 PM
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