New Order has always been a spotty live band, giving a half-hearted performance one night and a majestic one the next. 316 compiles two of the latter gigs, one from a New York City gig in 1981 (originally released on VHS by Factory as Taras Sevchenko) and the other filmed at the Reading Festival in 1998. The 1981 gig finds the year-and-a-half-old band still using quite a few old Joy Division tricks (not acknowledging the audience, playing for less than an hour), but coming up with some of their own. The songs are pulled mostly from their debut album, Movement, along with an early version of "Temptation," still called "Taboo No. 7" and containing totally different lyrics. The video quality has some noticeable noise, which is forgivable considering the cold coolness of the performance and excellent sound quality. None of the innovative intentions from the New York show are present on the Reading Festival gig. The band rattles off all the hits, celebrating the band's history rather than adding much to it. The only surprise ends up being the three Joy Division songs performed (hence the title of the DVD: three Joy Division songs, 16 New Order). Vocalist Bernard Sumner's delivery can't equal Ian Curtis', but he's at least more respectable doing Joy Division's music than his sometimes flippant delivery of New Order's. It's a stadium-style New Order playing thunderous versions of "Blue Monday" and "True Faith," and the hits adapt extremely well. A 20-minute interview from 2000 is included, with the band reflecting on the two shows included and arguing about other defining moments of their career. Too bad Rhino didn't include the small booklet from the U.K. edition, and their garish logo looks odd against Peter Saville's clean design.
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