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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 26 August 2011
This is a really great performance of an excellent Joy Division Ccverband. Although he can't really sing, to me Hookie sounds much more like Ian Curtis than Bernard Sumner. I really like the sound of that band, although I really miss Bernard's simple but effective guitar playing. I do recommend all Joy Division fans to give this one a try...
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30 years after Ian Curtis suicide, and it is time (allegedly) for the band's former bassist to tour the world with a new band, reflecting in the glory of a band that breathed its last three decades ago. Taking away from the Joy Division legacy, this recreation / celebration of the debut by Joy Divison leaves a taste in the mouth, as desperation takes hold. What more can be said about Joy Division? Not much, anymore. A brief lifespan that went from an embryo to a memory in three years, two albums, a handful of singles, and about one hundred gigs.

Is there a time in your life when you start looking back, more than looking forward, the time in your life when you become nearer to the end than the beginning? Is this then the first admission that Peter Hook's glory years are over, and now it is revision, merchandising, nostalgia? An industry of memory? I would never deny a musician the right to perform or to make money from their work, but sometimes, the respect the musician treats themselves with is far less than they deserve.

Probably. In it's absolute form, this record is a strong collection of excellent songs performed ably. Were they always sung by Peter Hook, you would never think that perhaps this band needed a different singer. But they weren't always sung by Hook. And to me, the connection between this band, performing these songs, and the songs themselves is thin. Hear the original bassist not play bass, but sing! Hear... absolutely no other original members of the band on this recording. I was prepared, and understanding, of Roger Waters - who sang and played bass and guitar - singing and playing bass and guitar with lots of former members of Pink Floyd, performing Pink Floyd albums. But when not one member of the original band is performing the original instrument it's a tribute band with one original member. Even New Order, and latterly Bad Lieutenant, that feature more than one member of the original band performing Joy Division songs felt a little generous / tenuous, but this is nothing more than a somewhat generous interpretation of nostalgia, with a slender connection to the original material in lineage and lineup. Sure, they're Hooky's songs (but not just his sole property), and he has the right to play them - but what happened to the ideals - the integrity? He has the right also, to not play them. Perhaps, were he touring a set of all his old material instead of a recreation of one album, and perhaps were he also performing a cross section of songs from New Order, Joy Division, Monaco, Revenge, Freebass, for example, it would feel a lot more comprehensive, and a lot more honest : here, the cult of Joy Division (and brilliant as Joy Division were, they are over-rated), is thematically broken. Peter Hook was but one quarter of a whole, and for one quarter to take the body of work and appropriate it wholesale (albeit under a different name), when not even performing the original instrument, and singing when not being the original singer, takes liberties with the interpretation of credibility and legitimacy.

If, on the other hand, you want to hear a competent and spirited covers band performing the early part of Joy Divisions legacy then there are few finer ways of doing so than this. The live re-creation of the sound conjours up an authentic atmosphere, with the character of the original songs retained. The passion of the performance cannot be faulted. But it is erstasz, imitation, Diamondeque, a passable fooling : like going out with a girl who reminds you of your first love, but perhaps, not quite so good. And in your heart, you know it. But you want that again. You want to feel what you never can experience a second time, for the time is gone. And, at the time, it was probably imperfect with rough edges - which time has smoothed.

Is this worth buying? If you clamour for new music, even if it is old music, then yes. But buyer beware. The vinyl edition features two extra songs as last minute "Bonus tracks", though for no apparent reason (the songs being "At A Later Date", and "Ceremony"). The CD edition has plenty of extra space left on its running time, so in practice, anyone who doesn't the vinyl edition is being penalised for preferring other formats for no adequate reason. I never get time to sit in my house on my own and listen to vinyl LP's. Sure, I could listen to this exclusive, elitist-pleasing bait by needledropping the vinyl, making MP3's, and then retagging them into my iPhone/iPod/iWhatever. But I don't have time or inclination for such nonsensical and unneccessary practices. In the day and age where anyone who actually pays for music is a weirdo, and a CD is just a set of MP3's in a box, anything that treats a customer with anything like contempt is a dangerous move. It's easy to find the bonus tracks by looking. Deliberately removing value and slicing songs off a release is madness. Don't give people less reasons to buy the product. There will be people that don't want to buy truncated product when the full show is only available in vinyl fetishist format. I can't listen to vinyl when I'm out of the house. And that's where I listen to most of my music. Not in front of a vinyl deck, fighting off a hyperactive cat and a grabby child.

If there is a valid reason (such as a lack of space on the CD) I understand not including songs on the CD release. The exclusion of material when there is space for them on the CD is baffling. "Percieved Value" is important here : people are prepared to pay for something when they feel they are getting value for it. When you remove value, and take off content, that lowers the value of the product. It's up to you. I'll just add the missing encore tracks off an audience bootleg of the respective show and live with the drop in quality. There's no reason to take the songs off the CD release, apart from pleasing vinyl-sniffing nerds.

Formatting aside, and in conclusion, "Unknown Pleasures Live" is one member of Joy Division and his mates playing 30 year old songs in small rooms, being a tribute band featuring an original member. If you have a fervent need to experience a properly recorded set of Joy Division material, then by all means, experience this. But don't forget what Peter Saville said, that this is just the merchandising of memory. This is a recording of a fine band recreating something that never quite existed except on vinyl, tainted by the notion of integrity - and ignoring it. But time then, to let it go. Go forward. Not back.
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on 4 January 2012
the purists out there will always say "its scraping the barrel" but either way I think its great to hear the songs again and it gives another perspective with Hooky on vocals. Yes it would have been better if the original members like sumner and Morris were involved in the 30th Year anniversary but because of tiff they have all had it wasnt so and so for this moment in time its the closest we will get.

Definatly worth buying!
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VINE VOICEon 11 June 2013
This isn't the best (or worst) live Album I've heard by a long way.

You get a sense of the experience of seeing 'The Light' live, but somehow it feels a bit flat and uninspiring.

I saw them live in London earlier in the year and it was a great gig, which prompted me to buy this CD and I certainly don't hate it, but listening to it doesn't come anywhere near matching the live experience, which the best live albums can do.

One for the completist, perhaps.
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on 7 August 2016
I'm glad that I purcased this before I read some of the reviews on here. I do not think Peter Hook is just on a sentimental reminiscence tour here. It's worth remembering that he was a member and co-writer of all of Joy Divisions music. If he was out just touring New Order songs I don't think they'd be complaints like there have been with the Joy Division purists.
I think the album is great, it's very slick, perhaps even too slick at times. Joy Division were very raw live, whereas here you can definetely tell Peter's Hooks band are professional musicians of very high standard, regardless some of the new interpretations of the songs are very cleverly done, Candidate for example sounds ephemeral, almost like an early Verve song. Day of the Lords sounds incredibly dark with the keyboards added, I remember nothing sounds epic and other worldly.
Some people have also criticized Peter Hooks voice. In my opinion he does a better job at singing Joy Division songs than Bernard Sumner does. He certainly isn't Ian Curtis, but I think his grit and gravel in his voice portrays the darkness of these songs very well.
In my opinion a great album. I'd love him to do Closer as well.
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on 11 December 2012
After seeing them live recently I purchased this recording. Whilst it does'nt caputre all the feeling and atmosphere of hearing it live it comes a very close second, you can still feel the energy and passion Hooky has for the music. Joy Division fans should listen to this as it is a excellent cover of a classic album. While Peter Hook does'nt have the haunting vocals of the late (great) Ian Curtis his come a very close second.
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on 30 September 2012
As I write there are no three star reviews for this CD but that's its average - just a mix of people who either love it or hate it. I'm very firmly in the love it camp, perhaps helped there by having seen this live too. It's impossible to witness the passion with which Hook delivers this material live and think that it's the cash in some claim. It's a tribute to something lost, that barely existed anyway (Hook has already been performing this material for nearly as long as Joy Division toured). The CD is well recorded, the songs delivered with a roughness that's far closer to the Joy Division one encounters on bootlegs than Hannett's uber-polished studio version of the band. Here's hoping for more live documents of the Light - or even a DVD.
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on 3 May 2014
Having seen Hooky live three times in the last year I was made up to buy this album. It's brilliant. New Dawn Fades is outstanding. I love this album and can't wait to see the band again
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on 9 April 2012
Well like Revenge but worse, Monaco it isn't which is a shame.
Nothing but a rehash of the past here played out in some backwater
venue with an easy to please crowd sailing along on a sea of melancholy
no doubt with tears in their eyes as they remember the sainted 'IAN'.

Nostalgia that grates, a bit like your old relative telling you that
black & white telly's were the best and colour wasted everything.
I want NEW MUSIC Peter you should have given Freebass a decent go
of it or was Mani right about You?
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on 29 March 2014
Quite good item, good mix, remix and re-arranged songs, and Peter provides good vocal, also good "lead bass"... nice cover
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