Bestival 2012: New Order live review

Rob da Bank crosses New Order off his hit list as 50,000 are treated to Joy Division's classic 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'

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Date: 8 Sep 2012 | By Martin Davies | Rating: 4-5
Bestival 2012: New Order live review

Bestival Saturday saw New Order receive the Bestival-headliner baton. Rob da Bank can now cross one more name from his dream list of headliners, which also includes the scribbled out names of The Cure, Kraftwerk, Pet Shop Boys and Stevie Wonder.

It's now over 30 years since New Order was born from tragedy. That disruption has even continued on in recent years when they dealt with the awkwardly acrimonious departure of bassist Peter Hook; but New Order have always maintained a distinctly forward direction and they had 50,000 sweaty festival-goers covered in feathers and fur, ready to go wild the moment they appeared.

Bestival's line-up this year felt influenced by New Order and Joy Division (Hot Chip, The xx and Django Django) and their music has managed to defy the ageing process even today. Those first beats of 'Blue Monday' sounded as fresh on Saturday as they did all those years ago. But years on from their first success, New Order are older, rawer and more determined than ever to get it right.

Sumner's performance was far from polished as he stumbled through a few chords, mouths angrily to the sound guys while being engulfed in sporadic pumps from the smoke machine, but it's this casual and sometimes shambolic way of playing that has seen the band unafraid to embrace and grow from experiences of both triumph and disaster – serving only to stamp their humanity on their artistry.

Under the header of 'New Order' we were given 'Crystal', 'True Faith' and much-loved 'Blue Monday', which received a roar of applause from the crowd. They paid tribute to the legacy of Joy Division in the form of 'Solitude', 'Transmission' and the pop masterpiece that is 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'. Sumner made a proud declaration about the latter and glowed with nostalgic love for everything that Joy Division accomplished in their short time together.

Somewhat less sophisticated than a holographic 2pac, but far more respectful, Ian Curtis made his appearance projected against the backdrop along with the words 'Joy Division Forever'. It may be 30 years since Joy Division met its dramatic end, but a Joy Division track stirred up the biggest outpouring of love from the thousands gathered on the fields.

Another Bestival Saturday ended in spectacular fashion and the gauntlet has been thrown down to those who dare take to the Main Stage next year.