:CD Review: New Order – Live at the London Troxy

New Order – Live at the London Troxy
Label: Abbey Road
Release date: December 21, 2011
Website: neworderonline.com

Review by: Zander Buel

It’s been a special year for the post-punk and new wave bands of the 80′s. If The Cure hooking up for another Reflections tour wasn’t enough to satisfy the needs of children of the 80′s from around the world, here is New Order with their first official live album since 1992. With such an illustrious catalog from 1981 to 2005, their first release since 2005’s Waiting for the Siren’s Call, Live at the London Troxy does each album and era justice with an impressive set list.

To the dismay of New Order veterans, bassist Peter Hook is absent from this performance (it appears he and vocalist Bernard Sumner are still at odds with each other). However, Sumner is still equipped with his old mates Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert, as well as newcomer Phil Cunningham from Bernard’s other project, Bad Lieutenant. Is the band on par after an indefinite hiatus and no new material? Absolutely. The band is top-notch. Each instrument is crystal clear and competent while ripping through old favorites like “Age of Consent,” “1963,” “Bizarre Love Triangle” “The Perfect Kiss,” and the nearly 10-minute performance of “Temptation,” with occasional banter from Sumner in between the songs. The spirit of old synthesizer and electronic-infused post-punk is still alive and kicking within each note and vocal performance. The haunting intro of Low-Life‘s “Elegia” and the soaring string keys on Waiting for the Siren’s Call’s “Krafty” amplify the atmosphere and magic of the performance. The live drums in place of programming succeeds in not taking away but rather adding to the songs, enhancing them with a more organic and real sound.

The set is concluded with a rendition of “Love Will Tears Us Apart,” a tune from the old Joy Division days that is just as haunting and harrowing with Sumner on vocals as it was when being crooned by the late, legendary Ian Curtis. It is a fitting end to what is easily an ideal New Order set—catchy, danceable, melodic, light-hearted, and filled to the brim with fantastic songs. It is remarkable how a band this old can still give 100% to a lengthy set. Past their prime they are not.

While it is unlikely that New Order will record New Music (Get it? No? Nevermind.) anywhere in the future, it’s concerts like this that keep their relevance and importance fresh in the minds of their fans and 80′s enthusiasts everywhere. With the b-sides compilation The Lost Sirens just around the corner, their place in history is sealed.

Tracklist:

1. Elegia
2. Crystal
3. Regret
4. Ceremony
5. Age of Consent
6. Love Vigilantes
7. Krafty
8. 1963
9. Bizarre Love Triangle
10. True Faith
11. 586
12. The Perfect Kiss
13. Temptation
14. Announcement
15. Blue Monday
16. Love Will Tears Us Apart

Purchase Live at the London Troxy from NewOrder Now.