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Les Bains Douches 18 December 1979 CD review

Magazine: Mojo (UK)

Publication date: June 2001

Reviewer: Keith Cameron



Twenty-one years ago, Paris heard the primal scream
Official release of famous bootlegged Paris concert.
Anthony Wilson contributes typically (and justifiably) hyperbolic sleevenotes
THERE WAS clearly something in the water the night a week before Christmas 1979 at a disused Turkish baths in the Beaubourg district of Paris. For if this, the latest piece of a substantial bootleg archive to be made legitimately available, is accurate, Joy Division played an amazing gig in front of what sounds like no more than 20 people. Either that or the majority of a packed house stood mute in the face of the precision-driven mania of a band close to, if not at, the peak of its powers. Whatever,
Les Bains Douches represents an essential addition to what one might have assumed was an already oversubscribed niche, of interest only to ultra-obsessives
Anyone whose first introduction to the sound of Joy Division in the raw was the live half of 1981's posthumous
Still might struggle to recognise this as a representation of the same players. Those recordings were of such poor fidelity that surely pure sentiment and little else caused them to be released in the first place