In the wake of early-'80s post-punk artiness, New Order must have seemed like a welcome return to the world of tunes. Those not blinded by Ian Curtis' pyre were certainly pleased with the direction of the band, while those that needed shades had been finding it increasingly difficult to ignore the melancholic hooks pervading even the most synth-laden dance singles coming out of the group. Which makes this live capture of New Order's divisive skill that much more appealing.
Recorded on June 19th, 1987, at Glastonbury, this live set includes everything from the band's major hits ("Temptation," "Bizarre Love Triangle") to the more undisclosed favorites ("Touched By the Hand of God") all with a raw, sometimes po-faced, interpretation of their studio-friendly talents. As in "Your Silent Face," the band seems instinctually aware of accentuating the original's reed-filled ennui, yet while in the distressed "Every Second Counts" -- simultaneously reminding you where Pulp thought of their hook to "Mile End" -- they sometimes come off as just dull, "press that button" mechanists. Either way, fans will most likely enjoy the album's twin highlights: the live unveiling of "True Faith" upon an unsuspecting crowd and an outstanding, nearly incomprehensible cover of the Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray" that rounds off the night.
Did New Order signal the beginning of something new or the end of something important? Depends on how you look at it. Perhaps BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert immortalizes a moment when a band's supporters and detractors were both exactly right.