“You can’t leave all the dancing to the people onstage,” says Bernard Sumner, “this is ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’, for fuck’s sake.” After an Other Stage day in debt to the indie dance legacy of New Order – Chvrches, The 1975, Hurts – three songs in, Sumner isn’t feeling quite the same reverence from their own crowd, who are yet to get down on their knees and pray to Manchester’s electro-pop originators. Surprising, after such a sparky start – the insistent new track ‘Singularity’, written with The Chemical Brothers’ Tom Rowlands, gives way to the murky, primal alt-dance of ‘Crystal’ and we’re instantly transported to New Order’s safe place. A place where beats are Germanic, synth lines sparkle and a grown man called Barney bounces and whoops like a five-year-old who just happened to have invented modern dance music in the ’80s.
The crowd soon shape up. As geometric shapes and wormhole visuals that would send Stephen Hawking into a K-hole fill the screens, the set takes off. Barney plucks out a stratospheric guitar riff during ‘Waiting For The Siren’s Call’ – a techno travelling song 10 years old but somehow in step with contemporary EDM – and their atmospheric magic kicks in. New Order have always trodden the thin line between rave and grave and, despite their seemingly endless public squabbles with ex-bassist Peter Hook and some sketchy sound issues on recent tours, they look and sound slicker and more atmospheric than ever. When Sumner sings “you’re so special, so iconic” during ‘Plastic’, a track from last year’s superior comeback album ‘Music Complete’ drenched in modernist electronic nous, he could easily be addressing himself, and no-one tonight would accuse him of being as self-congratulatory as a Facebook Leave voter.
They’re tighter than ever too. Just eight songs in they’re already launching into a final run of ‘True Faith’, ‘Blue Monday’ and ‘Temptation’, the field awash with flares and green smoke, giving ‘Blue Monday’ – with its stabbing beats and electronic monks – the feel of an ancient ritual of sacrifice to appease Oberheim, pagan god of cheap 80s drum machines. “Adele got longer than us, but she has all those long notes… but what did her boyfriend do to her?” says Barney, returning to provoke Pilton-wide elation with a one-song encore of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, accompanied by background shots of Ian Curtis and the legend ‘Forever Joy Division’. If Adele’s crowd is adding to the site’s waterlogging issues with the tears of 100,000 Dumspville residents, we’re finally busy tramping the dirt down.