New Order – Live at Bestival 2012
Rock cliché number 55 – you don’t survive the death of your frontman! Joy Division proved that wrong when they dealt with the suicide of Ian Curtis by changing their name to New Order, moving guitarist Bernard Sumner onto lead vocal duties and effectively originating indie-dance with some of the most blissfully brilliant club-floor tracks of the early 1980s.
Rock cliché number 89 – you can dispense with integral parts of the rhythm section, yet continue beating a path towards world domination! Alas, the loss of bassist Peter Hook ensured that New Order were unable to overcome a banal adage for a second time. Try as they might, the evidence from their live shows post-Hook is that it simply doesn’t work, this album being further evidence of that. The removal of the depth and strength of his bass is just one of the elements that contribute to a feeling that we have an outfit going through the motions in their live set from the Bestival festival on the Isle of Wight in 2012.
There are good versions of Regret and Temptation, but sadly they’re trampled on by inferior interpretations of Blue Monday, Bizarre Love Triangle and True Faith. Even more painful is the mutilating of Joy Division’s Isolation, Love Will Tear Us Apart and Transmission. Sumner simply just doesn’t have the vocal emotive intensity to tackle these songs, determinedly try though he may. There are sound difficulties, vocal problems and a weakness of rendition that make you yearn for the New Order of old. These people have provided some of the most astonishing and influential music of the past 30 years, have long been an accomplished live act, and when interviewed come across as some of the most amicable citizens in the business. They deserve our ongoing admiration, but as an ongoing live act, it simply isn’t working.
Live at Bestival 2012 is released on 8th July 2013, but you can pre-order the album here.
Watch a live performance of Transmission here: