Just as good now as they ever were
Charlie Brock
12:19 6th May 2021

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Education Entertainment Recreation (Live at Alexandra Palace) opens with New Order walking out on stage to beautiful visuals, a Wagner piece and a sea of adoring faces. With 'Singularity' as the opener, the music builds beautifully as New Order slowly grow into themselves and the grand venue. Off the bat, we get lush renditions of 'Regret' and 'Love Vigilantes' - the audio is superb and the visuals of Ally Pally match New Order’s triumphant mood. 

'Disorder' is the first Joy Division tribute, bringing about a mood of excitement and sadness as it fills the space. It's a brilliant rendition - throughout each pause or lapse, the sense of joy and wonder in the crowd is palpable. Fair warning: stop watching at this point if you don’t want to bring on a crashing wave of despair about how long it’s been since we last saw a live gig. 

Bernard Sumner stalks the stage in his Adidas Originals, as 'Your Silent Face' plays out to a crowd of bouncing, singing fans. The band are on fine form and it really feels like you’ve been given a peek into one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ gigs. 'Tutti Fruti' follows, as New Order continue to prove that they are just as good now as they ever were. 

The set is a great mix of old and new, with Sumner and co. really flexing their back catalogue. New Order sound completely flawless throughout. 'BLT' and 'Vanishing Point' are highlights, with New Order exploring each corner of their sound - the big screens behind them play a selection of images both expected and bizarre images, while the light show is as spectacular as you’d expect. 

New Order rattle through the hits; they’re a band absolutely in their element and they really hit their stride towards the end of the set. “We’re having a fucking great time up here” Sumner yells, summing things up. 'The Perfect Kiss' and 'True Faith' bring about rousing reactions from the crowd with the direction and shooting of the show really capturing the mood for a remote audience.

'Blue Monday' goes down exactly as you’d expect: New Order effectively take the roof off, before 'Temptation' brings the whole house down. New Order let the crowd stew in their own sweat and euphoria before Sumner asks “are there any Joy Division fans out there?” Yeah, one or two mate. A full Joy Division encore is played out: 'Atmosphere' opens in a suitably beautiful and emotional fashion, while 'Decades' is one for the lighters to come out to.

New Order close with 'Love Will Tear Us Apart': Sumner, Rickenbacker in hand, stums through the classic track as the crowd sway and dance. It's a wonderful closer to a great gig. The cinematography is great and the sound quality is superb. It’s been so long since I last heard live music, but Education Entertainment Recreation does a great job of making you excited for the nights to come...

Pre-order the live album here.

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Photo: Warren Jackson