Music Features

New Order - 5/11 (DVD Review)

The members of New Order are all in their 40's now. Two will be 47 in a matter of weeks. Drummer Stephen Morris was once of the opinion that bands shouldn't tour past their 30th birthday. Yet New Order's return to public life has managed to avoid the pitfalls that awaited fellow Mancunians the Happy Mondays, helped not least by the presence of a highly creditable album in Get Ready.

5:11 sees the now trio (keyboard player Gillian Gilbert still taking care of family) headline their own festival in Finsbury Park, getting Super Furry Animals and Air along for the ride. While in the past such a sizeable gig would have singer Sumner retreat into his 'Surly Manc Bastard' shell, middle age seems to have mellowed him. Watch him during the sublime performance of Bizarre Love Triangle, sliding up to auxiliary member Phil Cunningham with a "I love you, Phil!" Better still, the song sees a return of the mad-as-fuck proto Bez dancing made famous during the legendary 1989 Top Of The Pops performance of Fine Time.

The set list shows New Order as the "brilliant pop band" rather then the "electro/rock fusion innovators". There's nothing from the Technique or Lowlife albums, generally regarded as their creative peaks. At times there is the air that we're seeing a mere "Greatest Hits" though... on a personal note, where's Thieves Like Us? Round & Round? The Perfect Kiss...?

However, the inclusion of five Joy Division songs is more then welcome, Atmosphere in particular creating... well, an atmosphere. Digital also remains memorable if for nothing else but for Sumner dueting with himself. Sort of. On the negative side, a minor criticism of the set list is that an arrangement of True Faith bereft of it's legendary drum intro and working on a more House style, doesn't quite get off the ground.

Further criticisms of the performance are hard to find, though New Order do seem to have taken a very clinical approach to performing in the 21st Century. While in the past Sumner was (in)famous for his lyrical improvisation - with such results as "When you reached out in your sleep and felt my big fat cock" on a live run through of Lonesome Tonight - nowadays he has a little monitor scrolling the lyrics at his feet. Still, when you get to that age...

Despite that, Hooky remains as ever Bass God supreme, bounding on stage with effortless energy. He's often said the stage is his favourite part of being in New Order, and his enthusiasm is easy to see and as infectious as ever, even on the TV screen. And as the show closes down with Your Silent Face with the audience participation closing line, the thought is that they're still worth seeing and not (just?) yet at the stage when it starts to become embarrassing. 9/10

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Frankly somewhat disappointing. Besides the obvious improved sound/picture there's not much. Take away the usual subtitle/stereo options and we're left with a very short (2 minutes) "Earlier In The Day" clip showing the rain and mud before the gig and a 18 minute documentary NewOrder 9802.

9802 is a basic run through of the last few year, knocking together various live clips with interviews of fans on the lengths they've went to see the band in concert. It's a nice idea which isn't used enough. Brief interview snips with Bernard Sumner also feature.

However, for your extra DVD dollars, you do get a stunning performance of In a Lonely Place and unlike the previous New Order 3 16 documentary, this disc does not feature Miranda Sawyer. 6/10