Ben Gibbard Covers New Order's "Ceremony" In His Latest Acoustic Livestream: Watch
In May 1980, four days before frontman Ian Curtis died by suicide, Joy Division recorded a new song called “Ceremony.” It was the last song that Joy Division ever recorded, and that recording wouldn’t see release until years later. When Curtis died, the surviving members Joy Division went on to form New Order. New Order’s first single was a new version “Ceremony.” So Ceremony is a poetically important song — a great thing borne tragedy.
Over the years, a lot other artists have done their own versions “Ceremony”: Galaxie 500, Radiohead, Chromatics. Last night, Ben Gibbard joined the club. This week, the Death Cab For Cutie frontman started doing something very cool. While the current pandemic is forcing all us to stay in our houses, Gibbard is playing solo shows in his home studio every day, singing into his webcam and livestreaming out to the world. Gibbard is digging through his own catalog songs for these sets, and he’s also getting into some covers. During his first solo show, he covered Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees.” Yesterday, he did “Ceremony.”
As he was playing yesterday’s set, Gibbard mentioned that he’d been out running earlier that day, and he’d been struck for the first time in a while by how good “Ceremony” is. Almost immediately afterward, he’d gotten a text from a friend requesting a “Ceremony” cover: “A number exclamation points were sent back and forth.” His take on the song is as st and sweet and you’d expect.
Gibbard’s 40-minute set last night is almost pretty much entirely requests, and it ends with a tender version the Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights.” Watch yesterday’s set below; the “Ceremony” cover starts a little after the 40-minute mark. While you’re at it, listen to the New Order and Joy Division versions the song, too.
Gibbard says he’s going to keep playing these sets everyday, weekends included. Those gold and platinum records on the wall behind him are such a quiet flex.