New Order: Live At Bestival 2012

Hit-strewn, live release for charity. With extra whoops.

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In the past, a New Order live album would have been a truly catastrophic idea, such was their relaxed approach to performing the same song at the same time.

Similarly low expectations met the band’s return – now minus talismanic bassist Peter Hook – to the festival circuit last year following a lengthy squabble-induced sabbatical. Many wondered if they would actually still sound like New Order at all. In fact, recorded here at last summer’s hedonistic Isle of Wight bash, they sound exactly like New Order – Hook’s prowling basslines worshipfully reproduced by stand-in Tom Chapman, with drummer Stephen Morris and keyboardist Gillian Gilbert reanimating the best bits of the back catalogue with steely precision.

Perfection, though, remains unattainable thanks to Barney Sumner, whose enthusiasm is such that he adds an uncommon amount of whoops and yelps to songs that really do not need any. In fact, no song needs any. Worse still, a hollered “Come on!” during encore Love Will Tear Us Apart, directed at an audience already in full revelry, almost seems designed to completely destroy the cool that has surrounded them for 30 years. Fun, it seems, is New Order’s kryptonite.

Johnny Dee

Johnny Dee is a freelance copywriter, creative and journalist. He's been published The Times, The Independent, Q  NME, Q, Smash Hits, The Word as well as in The Guardian, writing pieces for G2, online and The Guide, where he edits the weekly back page feature Infomania. He's got a long history as a music journalist and is also fond of sport (currently contributing to Runner's World and FourFourTwo).