If you had seen New Order back in the early 80’s you would have seen a very different group.

What you got back then was a very raw, near unrehearsed performance and no encores.

Exciting times, however they have come a long way since then. What you get now is a stadium worthy, tight band with a back catalogue of songs that spans back to the late 70’s. I get the feeling it’s going to be a special night in Manchester’s Castlefield Bowl.

After a short video intro the band slowly walk on to the stage and are greeted excitedly by the Manchester, Adidas clad audience. “Singularity” from the latest album “Music Complete” is first out of the bag.

Barney seems in a playful mood, pointing to the rain filled clouds above whilst singing “winter came so soon, and summer never happened” much to the crowd’s amusement. This is followed by “Regret” It’s hard to believe this song was originally released in 1993. Tonight it’s sounding as fresh as it did back then.

Another new track, the guitar based “Academic” is up next. It’s a personal favourite of mine. It reminds me of the Bad Lieutenant/Electronic era.

At this point I must add that the visuals on the recent New Order gigs have been spot on. The carefully plotted lights and huge rear video screen provide that extra dimension. It’s a quality production.

“Crystal,” Restless” and another old favourite of mine, “Your Silent Face” from the 1983 release “Power, Corruption and Lies” get the audience singing along. It’s a great set so far, but it’s about to get better. It’s dance time.

“Tutti Frutti”, “People on the High Line” and a brilliant new remix of “Bizarre Love Triangle” turn the bowl into an open air version of the Hacienda. It’s great to see people of all ages dancing away, outdoors on a grey and dull Saturday night in the middle of Manchester.

From here on in it’s like a greatest hits tour. New tracks such as the future classic “Plastic” sit right at home with established favourites “True faith” and the legendary, and supposedly biggest selling 12” of all time, “Blue Monday”.

But the surprise of the night had to be the encore and the inclusion of “Decades” from the Joy Division album “Closer” to the set. Apparently it’s only the second time they have played it in Manchester.” Love will tear Us Apart” closes tonight’s show and the band leave the stage with an image of Ian Curtis lingering on the video screens for all to see through the Manchester rain. It’s a very emotional end to a fantastic homecoming gig.

New Order are;

Bernard Sumner
Phil Cunningham
Gillian Gilbert
Stephen Morris
Tom Chapman

Music Complete is out now and available at all major retailers.