Joy Division: 50 Tracks from 10 Concerts (September 1979- April 1980)

Joy Division’s live expression was the opposite of the clean, spacious, icy one that producer Martin Hannett honed on the band’s studio recordings. Live, they were a filthy, thick, hot power trio mess, with a sound not so far from Stooges/Crazy Horse, and a lot of moves that seem to come from The Velvet Underground. 

The live Joy Division oeuvre/experience can be intimidating to both moderate and super fans, because nearly every document is an audience recording, and there are a lot of them. Also, the band was loose/sloppy, which led to both great and terrible performances of songs. And they only had so many compositions in their repertoire. 

So, nobody really needs to spend a lot of time with 35-40 JD concert recordings. I have spent that time, over a decade, and I have ended up being a track-by-track fan.  

The folder I’m sharing has 50 of those tracks. I automatically excluded live material that appeared on the official releases “Still,” “Heart & Soul,” “Preston,” and “Les Bains Douches.” I think of those as the most official, canonical, available, live releases – and the ones that most fans will already know well.   

Anyhow, I had to a draw a line in the murky official/bootleg sand somewhere – in order to create a mix with value to serious fans – and this seemed like a reasonable one. 

A few overlaps with official releases remain, because better masters of the recordings appeared after the band attached them to releases (several tracks each from 1/11/80, 2/8/80). The 2/20/80 High Wycombe source is the bonus disc attached to the fleeting, limited edition 2007 reissue of “Still.” The person who mastered it for release apparently remastered it a few years later, but I have not found that version.

I didn’t pay any attention to how many or how few songs came from a show, or whether or not every possible song was represented. 15-20 bad-sounding shows went totally into the trash, as did plenty of good-sounding recordings of badly played songs. 

These are simply the tracks that I think are worth hearing a lot. 

File Format & Track List: Choose Your Own Adventure

So that it’s easy for fans with any level of interest to identify and delete any tracks they’ve already got, these files are still tagged show-by-show, rather than being wrapped into some kind of album. The screenshot below shows you exactly what you’ll get. 

3h20m mp3 mix zipped up here

Sidetrips: The Clash – “Midnight to Six” (1978)

49-minute mp3 folder here

  • English Civil War
  • White Man in Hammersmith Palais
  • Tommy Gun
  • I Fought the Law
  • Groovy Times
  • Julie’s Been Working for the Drug Squad
  • Guns on the Roof
  • Gates of the West
  • Last Gang in Town
  • Pressure Drop
  • Safe European Home
  • Stay Free
  • Time is Tight
  • Capital Radio 2

This mix aims to be the absolutely fantastic second Clash album that might have been. At least as good as “The Clash” and “London Calling.”  It might even have been the one you would have given to a friend to try to convert them to the band – far more mature than the first album, shinier and less shaggy than the third one. 

The main problems with “Give 'Em Enough Rope” are that all of the 1978 songs that sound most alike are on it, some of them are the weakest of the year, and there are only 10, total. Tempo and mood keep coming back to the same place. It feels like a heavy slab and an insubstantial album at the same time.

Side Trips: Imaginary Post-Punk Maxi-12-Inch Split Single

"It was in the city of shapes that she made love to several apes. She felt weird for a couple of days, but pretty soon she got used to their ways." (Robyn Hitchcock) I think you'll have a similar encounter with these mixes.

mp3s here  (if you want to download). Or stream the tracks, below.

Talking Heads: One Mix About Buildings and Food (8:51): An edit made up of pieces from nearly every song on "More Songs About Buildings and Food" that is looking for the proto-“Remain in Light” jam lurking inside it.

Television: Marquee Miniature (4:51): An almost entirely instrumental recombination of most of the album's  short instrumental breaks, which results in something that sounds surprisingly prog-y, and surprisingly like one song.

Talking Heads vs. NEU! (6:34): NEU!’s “Negativland” segues seamlessly into the “Psycho Killer” jam from the Talking Heads’ live performance in Sydney, Australia in 1979. A hint about what The Talking Heads were listening to and being inspired by.