New Order

Live 1987 Tour

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Having surfaced under other titles as well (such as Alexandra), Live 1987 Tour is an enjoyable enough though mostly redundant demi-bootleg of a stop on the band's American tour that year with Echo & the Bunnymen and Gene Loves Jezebel. Unlike the BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert [1992] show, which dipped about here and there in the band's catalog for the set list, this show follows the format of the then-recently released Substance collection. To the letter, all 12 A-sides on that compilation are presented here straight through just as they are on the album, with only minimal overall variation -- usually at the start and end of the songs -- from those familiar takes. Indeed, at points it almost sounds like it could just be Sumner singing over a fully prerecorded set, down to the guitar (though credit goes to the band for a variety of midsong additions and tweaks to "Blue Monday"). Combined with the fact that this is an audience-sourced recording rather than a soundboard -- especially noticeable with the echo on Sumner's between-song comments and on "The Perfect Kiss" -- and it means that this is mostly an effort for the hardcore fans than anything else. One too many comments from the nearby spectators will eventually get into one's hair after a while. That said, there's a surprising coda to the show that makes investigating worth a fan's while -- an encore performance of two Joy Division songs, something the band only rarely did in the '80s. "Atmosphere" sounds fantastic as ever -- it's definitely not a Martin Hannett mix, delivered with a slightly faster pace -- while the near-immortal "Love Will Tear Us Apart" sparks with all the crackling energy one could want. Another fun touch -- prefacing "True Faith" with a slightly ramshackle version of Iggy Pop's "The Passenger."