I walked into the Grey Horse in Kingston Upon Thames - a venue previously graced in the past by bands such as Bauhaus, Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton - don't believe they'd play a tiny little suburban hole like that? Well they did - a long time ago, believe me.
A week before, I'd burned a compilation of the best New Order tunes (in my opinion) for a friend. She'd listened to it and wanted to come to this gig. Just as we were going in, I could hear the start of 'Thieves Like Us' and thought that the evening already sounded promising! Hadn't heard that one live in ages... by the time that RE ORDER were halfway through 'Regret' I was 'hooked' - Kelly even whispered to me, 'This is New Order like on the CD right?' Bless... She's a Kiwi and a bit too young to grasp the whole concept - but that's a huge compliment to RE ORDER, in fact, if I closed my eyes, I could imagine that it really was my favourite band playing 6 feet away.
After opening my eyes again, it occurred that even the stage set up was identical to New Order. Keyboards/rhythm guitar on the left as you look at the stage, bass on the right, etc. I last heard Everything's Gone Green in Liverpool and actually RE ORDER almost (yes, almost) out-did New Order with their rendition. To me, it sounded more like that infamous gig back in Tolworth - 3 miles away - oh so many years ago, but didn't ramble as much! The keyboards on this were particularly good, matching New Order's sound perfectly.
The next track, 'The Perfect Kiss' was one I was particularly looking forward to, being a bass player. I certainly wasn't disappointed. For certain songs in this gig we were even treated to the sight of a Shergold 6 string - that's dedication for you *lol* The Perfect Kiss swirled around the room, and glancing at the audience, it reminded me of some of my earlier experiences of New Order. The young, the older, the 'indies' the 'average' – it looked like everyone was represented in some way.
Then Crystal. Yet another for which I have a soft spot – it was the first live New Order song that my ex, Tricia had ever heard. RE ORDER’s version only suffered slightly though – amazingly, through the lack of female backing vocals, something I never thought I’d say. Still, a good cover and played with skill and enthusiasm. How about a backing track next time lads?
Ceremony was next. To my mind, played a little too fast, which is just my opinion, but it always sounded so much better if taken slowly and lasting longer, yeah, okay, a bit like sex. But that’s what ‘Ceremony’ is – the New Order equivalent of sex - intense, intimate, for those who know it well and want to savour every minute. It’s both Joy Division and New Order – the best aspects of your ex and current partner mixed. Shit, I’m sounding like Morley… Oh well, the ‘sex’ was over a little too quickly! Yeah, the comments are coming…
‘True Faith’ was a delight, with all the bounciness of the real thing and carried the audience to the point of actually dancing – well a few of them anyway!
I’ve wanted New Order to play ‘Subculture’ live again for ages, so I was particularly happy that RE ORDER fulfilled that wish. Great to see the guys going through it and enjoying it – something that we’ve only recently been getting from New Order again (okay, since 2000, but that’s recent!). Looking at the band, you sort of wonder how they get that kind of huge sound in a small venue, but they did. Steve may be able to explain *lol* It could have been a mid 80’s New Order gig at this point!
New Order should take a leaf out of these guys’ book – they actually played a track from ‘Technique’ – ‘Vanishing Point’. And they played it very well – reminded me of a booze and drugs fuelled holiday in a certain Spanish speaking island some 17 years ago! But that’s partly what RE ORDER are about – it’s nostalgia with the ‘insider’ knowledge of what many of the fans want. And THAT is what makes them so special.
Then yet another favourite – I said to Kelly at the time, this is ‘BLT’ she misheard me and asked if I was hungry… Damn Kiwis… she loved it though – ‘Such a sweet song,’ she said and yes, I have to agree, it was sweetly played too.
A minor gripe about the band is that the sequenced tracks are just a little bit off from the originals, but that’s totally forgivable when they kick in and everything blends together in a wave of what would otherwise be perfection. The singer’s voice was great on this one. Actually very close to Barney all the way through the gig, even down to changing certain lyrics, which I think were lost on the majority of the audience. I’m sure Johnny, Martin and Al caught a few of the funnies, while many just enjoyed the whole experience.
NOOL members would have loved the next track and found it SO familiar – ‘The Village’. When the guys were playing this one, the images from David Church’s video entry for Community 2 were running through my head – that combined with the music was actually quite a moving experience.
Right, okay. A track you’d expect to hear as an encore, but no – the Mars Bar theme was next. Spot on programming and performance, again with a few altered lyrics, made it one of the highlights and I must admit, like many, that I am usually a bit fed up with ‘Blue Monday’. Not this time. Another funny was an audience member supplying the band with a bar of Cadbury’s Fruit ‘n’ Nut – Mars must be fuming…
Then my favourite track of the evening – ‘Temptation’. It ‘rocked’ to use an over-used expression! Lost Kelly halfway through as she had to get back to work – shame, as she missed something special. Closing my eyes again, it really was like listening to New Order and a great way to have an interim fix before Bournemouth and Wembley.
It really did seem like the set was ending too soon – even after 13 or 14 songs, so I was wondering what the last would be. I hoped for ‘Transmission’ or ‘Shadowplay’ but was actually pleasantly surprised with ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. A great cover, played with both skill AND enthusiasm, to my delight, the bass player WASN’T yelling ‘Come on’ through most of it. Restraint can be a wonderful thing – reminds me of the S&M comment earlier in their set!
Even though there were plenty of shouts for an encore and a far louder than usual degree of applause for The Grey Horse, the guys left the stage. A real shame as I’m sure that most of the audience would have happily listened to the whole lot again.
Still, there was another band waiting to play and I guess it would have been cruel to be the ‘support’ (by the toss of a coin apparently) and still blow them off the stage – no, don’t go there.
But DO go to see RE ORDER if they are playing anywhere near you. These guys are fantastic – each one of them performs to almost the point where it’s unnerving. There are so many cheesy puns I could use to end this review, but I won’t. Instead I’ll just say a heartfelt ‘Thanks for a great gig’ to RE ORDER.