Saturday, 22 December 2012

New Order - Peel Sessions 1998

CD Front
New Order did several Peel Sessions - three if I recall correctly - but my favourite of the three has to be their third and final Peel Session from November 1998. It was one of the first things they did together when they made their comeback as a group in 1998. On a slightly sadder note, it would also prove to be the last recordings Gillian Gilbert would make with the group prior to her departure in 2001 which would last for ten years, until she rejoined them in 2011. Anyway, one of the things that New Order decided to do when they made their comeback was to begin playing Joy Division songs at the live shows, which has now become an utter staple feature of their sets. This decision is somewhat reflected in the songs performed at the Peel Sessions. The songs chosen were the following:
  •  True Faith
  • Isolation (Joy Divison cover)
  • Touched By The Hand of God
  • Atmosphere (Joy Division cover)
  • Paradise

I have to say I really like the variety of songs there. It's not really a conventional (although when were New Order conventional really) straight forward hits set. It was a stroke of genius to include a version of Isolation I think, as I think that's one of the Joy Division tracks that sounds slightly akin to the sound New Order would go for. Their version of Atmosphere isn't quite as haunting as the original but its still a fine effort nonetheless. The real crowning glory for me here though is the new version of True Faith. It gives it more of a house feeling and its simply masterful. In fact, I'll go out on a limb and say its probably become my favourite version of the song, even above the already excellent original. Those of you who have ever saw their stellar performance at Reading in 1998 and felt suitably impressed by the version of True Faith there then need to check this out if you haven't done so - its the same arrangement. It was also great to see one of their most underrated singles (Touched By The Hand of God) make an appearance, along with a Brotherhood album track called Paradise. Paradise is another overlooked song I think and its good to see it get some attention when so many of New Order's album tracks criminally get forgotten in favour of the likes of Blue Monday, Bizzare Love Triangle etc.

CD Back
The 1998 Peel Sessions seems to be popular with New Order fans. Online petitions took place in order to ensure that it got an official release. A year after these petitions, the label Strange Fruits decided to honor fan's wishes and released the 1998 Peel Sessions - along with their four tracks they performed in the 2001 Evening Sessions set - in a CD entitled In Sessions. Sadly its proved to be slightly difficult for me to obtain and I do fear its become somewhat rare. The cheapest copy of it is on Amazon UK for a whopping £30 and that's second hand! It's a shame, because I feel this is one of the best moments in their discography. It just further cements their place as one of the most innovative and consistent artists ever to grace electronic music. Highly recommended!

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