Electronic music’s mega godfather band, New Order. returned to NYC for the first full show here since 2013 to celebrate the last year’s release of Music Complete, their first release since the rather public and bitter split with bassist Peter Hook. The album and the show was yet another proving ground for a band used to being tested and evolving anew again and again, rising from the ashes like a fierce phoenix.
The band of course, first arouse out of the tragic suicide of their first lead vocalist Ian Curtis back when they were the massively influential, starkly unique, darkly punkish, and edgy new wave band called Joy Division. Shortly afterward, the whole rest of the band; now lead vocalist and guitarist Bernard Sumner, drummer Stephen Morris, bassist Hook, along with the addition of synth and keyboard specialist Gillian Gilbert broke out on their own as they enveloped themselves in the NYC dance scene, and within just a couple years, they had become an extreme commercial and artistic success, continuing to blossom into the genre-defining leader of the exploding new wave, no wave, electronica, and synthpop scenes throughout the 80’s.
By 1993, they had split to their own projects, only to come back together once again and the turn of the century, recording to massive star-studded releases and lots of touring, only to be torn apart again when Hook left in 2007, and in a tirade of insults and public slams sued to stop them from going on without him. So, instead the remaining trio did try being a new band called Bad Lieutenant for a bit, but the last several years has clearly been spent another rising afresh. Now, with a new album and focus, along with a new bass player by the name of Tom Chapman, these pioneers of the electro-pop are clearly ready to get people up on the dance floor and dance their butts off.
They spent much of the early parts of their set playing a majority of their new album, which really shouldn’t have been to much of a surprise, with the exception on the second song in being a Joy Division and early repurposed New Order track “Ceremony” and one of my somewhat more recent favorites “Crystal” from 2001’s Get Ready. Slowly but surely some innovative and often drastically divergent versions of songs almost entirely from their first two albums ‘81’s Movement and ‘83’s Power, Corruption & Lies began to shred into what had become a solidly kick-ass dance beat flow. I especially like their unique take on the classic “Bizarre Love Triangle” and the more recent “Waiting for the Sirens’ Call.” Of course towards the end with an amazing stage show of video and animated eye crack to gawk at, the crowd was in all out debaucherous dance mode, at least in my section, which had almost devolved into a Caligula of the hi-brow Radio City as they raved through classics like “The Perfect Kiss,” “True Faith,” and “Temptation.”
After a short break they were back on and clearly ready to follow through with a one-two-three punch, as they started off with a heartstring destroying tribute to their former bandmate Ian Curtis in a Joy Division cover of “Atmsphere.” Then things went awry, as Sumner was in some heated discussion with someone off-stage, and then came to the audience and said that they were being cut short, much to the confusion of the already discombobulated audience and band alike. They then kind of begrudgingly broke into their final song of the night, another Joy Division cover of “Love Will Tear Us Apart Again,” which show what happens when you break a solid flow by a massively talented band like this, cause as much as I loved to hear it, it was very off key.
So, who knows what else they would have played had they not been cut off, but I’m willing to bet big classics like “Age of Consent” and “Blue Monday” would probably have been contenders to cap off the night.
Article: Dean Keim