Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 011
Fri, Feb 8, 2013

“Ceremony [Live at Birmingham University]”
Joy Division


“♫ Picture
me & then
you start watching/
watching forever/
forever/ watching
love grow,
Photo of Peter HOOK and Ian CURTIS and JOY DIVISION

“Ceremony” the glorious first song that birthed New Order, also marked the end of Joy Division. According to Peter Hook’s brilliant new book Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division, “Ceremony” was originally recorded on a practice tape from Graveyard studios. An eerie coincidence, even though as Hook claims, “Ian never had a chance to record a proper studio version;” Joy Division did perform a smashing rendition of “Ceremony” during their last gig at Birmingham University’s High Hall on May 2nd, 1980.
Curtis At Futurama

A few New Order novices may not be familiar with Joy Division’s rough yet rousing live version that was finally released on the posthumous collection Still released in 1981. This rendition from High Hall was captured on tape sixteen days before Curtis took his own life. Two days after the Birmingham University show, the last as Joy Division, Peter Hook writes in Unknown Pleasures, “This was Joy Division’s last ever-gig, and when we debuted “Ceremony,” Ian wrote very positively about the gig—“It was our biggest crowd ever”—He also said that the best number of the night was the new one, “Ceremony.””
Photo of Stephen MORRIS and JOY DIVISION

You can feel the ferocious energy on the only live version of ‘Ceremony” by Joy Division ever immortalized on tape. I love Ian’s vocals as if by singing the words as if his life depends upon it. This live version is held together by the pounding of Stephen Morris fierce drums. Although, imperfect you can hear the essence of the dynamic post pieces that made “Ceremony” the raucous rocker that would create New Order.

Experience the roots of a classic song; “Ceremony” remains the legacy of one Ian Curtis. Curtis was the one who introduced the electronic of Kraftwerk to his Joy Division mates. From beyond, Ian was pointing the future sound of New Order; in the remnants reflecting the lyrical Joy Division promise in this rare live version, the immortal legacy of Ian Curtis’ “Ceremony” remains imperfect but powerfully— Still.
Ian Curtis On Stage