Studio 54, Barcelona, Spain
7 July 1984
source: Hooky's rubbish bin (the "stash" tapes)
lineage: Master soundboard recording cassette
analogloyalist mastering August 2012
At long last I'm starting to fix up and free a stash of gigs - which first saw the light (heh) in 2004 on the long-defunct Sharing The Groove, but were essentially untouched beyond basic cleanup - that really show how brilliant New Order were in their prime in the mid-'80s.
The quick-and-dirty background: Whilst cleaning house, a set of master New Order soundboard tapes (various mid-80s live gigs, some rehearsals, and a DAT or two from the band's 1989 US tour) was found by Hooky under the floorboards at his studio Suite 16 in Rochdale, England. A musician friend of Hooky, who was in his employ for a duration in the early 90s, then rescued the tapes and sold them to an infamous collector in Florida, a collector not known for sharing the wealth. In the interim, ATR (sometimes called Stash) obtained digital transfers of these tapes before they were shipped off to Florida. ATR then shared them amongst the New Order cognoscenti, and then in 2004 we fed them to the world via Sharing The Groove.
All these gigs had their various problems as-received from the source in between Hooky and us, the least of which were sector boundary errors (which means, if burned as-is to CD, there are audible "pops" in between tracks) and all off-pitch by varying degrees. Some were extremely muddy, and others were far too bright. None of them were just right, but my aim is to make them so.
(The New Order "stash" gigs that were on Sharing The Groove, and various other torrent sites and blogs from 2004 onward, are all from those original 2004 releases and have not been formally mastered since, until now.)
This is easily one of my all-time favorite New Order sets. Generally fantastic, crystalline sound; great setlist; unique segues; sequencer cockups. It's all here.
"Ceremony" on the Retro box set live CD was sourced from this very transfer via one of the Stash transfer recipients, though obviously without my mastering (the Retro version is inexplicably slowed down, and has been "muddified" for lack of a better term). It truly shines here and is one of my favorite performances ever of this track. Don't let the sound quality of the Retro version scare you, at all - this completely shatters Retro's version and beats it to a bloody pulp.
"Skullcrusher" - enough said. One of the few performances with "lyrics" - and I put that in quotes because it's basically Barney ad-libbing a lyric. And it's wonderful, in its absurdity. The performance is, simply, out of this world. And "Lonesome Tonight"! Easily a top 5 New Order track for me.
Throughout the sequenced tracks ("The Village" / "Confusion" / "Hurt" / "Blue Monday" / "Everything's Gone Green" / "Temptation") you can audibly hear problems with the sequencer. It's cutting in and out (it's actually mostly in, it's only dropping out in a few places) of the board feed; I have no idea if this was a problem with the on-stage equipment or simply the feed into the PA. It makes for some unique versions, and I absolutely love it.
There's a wonderful problem with the sequencer kicking off "Everything's Gone Green" in that it bleats "Blue Monday" in perfect sync with "Everything's Gone Green" until Gillian sets things right. And the perfect segue between "EGG" and "Temptation" is done perfectly, the sequencer going for a full 12 minutes straight between the two songs. Love it!
The original unmastered version of this gig has been spread pretty far and wide since 2004. Trust me when I say you will want to bin it immediately upon hearing this 2012 mastering - it crushes it like a grape. This version here is truly spectacular, and could be released tomorrow by Warners.
01 Your Silent Face
02 The Village
05 We All Stand
06 Lonesome Tonight
09 Age Of Consent
10 Blue Monday
11 Bernard and Hooky riffing
12 Everything's Gone Green ---->
Third of a series...