Friday 20 November 2015


Music Complete is already rightly regarded by many as one of the great New Order albums, a spiritual successor to 1989's mighty career highpoint Technique. One of the most thrilling aspects of all this is the new vitality New Order have and that vitality was abundant at last night's show at the O2 Academy in Glasgow. I've seen New Order a few times, I've seen many, many gigs and this gig is the best I've ever seen New Order play and is undoubtedly one of the best concerts I've seen. This is more than a late career renaissance - this is New Order in their absolute prime.

Opener Singularity set the tone perfectly. What is already a driving track, mixing guitars with electronics like only they can, was transformed into a pummelling opener that got the packed venue going straightaway. It was some start and then they played Ceremony which is just about as good as anything at all gets. That song never loses its edge and is one of the most thrilling things you'll hear live. Mind you, the two couples who spent most of the gig talking until Blue Monday came on might disagree. Why do people do that? £40 for a ticket and all you do is chat to someone who can't hear you. Baffling and rather annoying. Anyway, I digress.

The show was in its stride straightaway and Crystal carried that on effortlessly. The film and lightshow are worth noting at this point. Most tracks had their own films and they all complimented the songs perfectly. The lightshow too was amongst the best I've seen. The band were regularly silhouetted leaving the music and its accompaniments as the focal point and it worked perfectly. A frankly spectacular version of one of my all time favourites 586 followed Crystal leading into Restless and Lonesome Tonight, the old and new merging perfectly. The way the Music Complete tracks seamlessly gel with the older classics says so much for this album.  Just when you thought this gig couldn't get any better, they then played Your Silent Face. I could have cried and might have done if I hadn't been so sweaty (it was like an oven in the venue). Your Silent Face is simply one of the most beautiful songs of all time.

New and old then mixed again with People On The Highline and Tutti Frutti both louder than war, dance epics that got the whole room moving as one. Even people at the bar were dancing. Following them with a belting Bizarre Love Triangle nearly took the roof off the place. No matter how much I try, I just can't get into Waiting For The Sirens' Call even when it is played in remixed form to fit the set so that was a slight lull, but the end of the main set more than compensated for that - Plastic, The Perfect Kiss, True Faith and Temptation. I'm repeating myself slightly, but it is worth pointing out that, amongst three of the greatest songs ever written, Plastic didn't sound out of place at all. Any chance to hear The Perfect Kiss should be taken and this current versions is as good as any they've done. True Faith always immediately takes me back to listening to it in my bedroom when I was 15 and it never fails to send armies of shivers down my spine. Following that with an epic, stunning versions of Temptation was almost cruel as it could easily have reduced many in the room to gibbering wrecks of joy. Thankfully, we all held it together and the room almost exploded with energy in what I saw people saying on Twitter post gig was one of the best live versions of Temptation ever. It's hard to disagree. Mesmerising.

The encore initially saw emotions of a different kind. Atmosphere was simply spellbinding. Footage from Anton Corbin's video interspersed with pictures of Ian Curtis and Joy Division played on the screens and the song was its usual stunning self. It has that rare ability to make you feel that you are the only person in the room, despite the heaving, sweaty masses around you. A truly intimate, magical moment. Love Will Tear Us Apart, again using footage of Joy Division and Curtis, followed and it took on a celebratory feel, somewhat at odds with the song I guess. A celebration of Ian Curtis, Joy Division and music generally. Our music, our bands. The talkative couples were then rewarded with a closing Blue Monday which still thrills despite its familiarity. A great end to what was a simply sensational show.

10 out of 10, 5 stars, perfection. 

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