The Gig: New Order
Where: Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto, Ontario
When: Wednesday 24 October
In One Word: Jovial
New Order have always been on my bucket-list of bands to see before I die. So when I heard they were embarking on a new tour without bassist Peter “Hooky” Hook, I had mixed feelings of excitement and disappointment. Hooky was probably the most colourful member of the band and his melodic bass lines have been such an integral part of New Order’s sound, that it was hard to imagine the band without him. But his departure from New Order was so acrimonious that the possibility of any return is highly unlikely. And judging by their final performance on their recent North American tour, a New Order without Hook is a happy New Order.
From the moment they hit the stage, the music, the film vignettes in the background and showcase of laser lights worked together to create a show that was an intimate spectacle. Singer Bernard Sumner, known for being fairly reserved, was quite jovial,
cracking the occasional joke and mocking himself when a joke fell flat. Age seemed to have finally caught up a bit with the long-time youthful looking Sumner, but it didn’t stop him. After dancing around to “Bizarre Love Triangle” like an uncle at a wedding, he said with good humour that he had to pause to catch his breath. The remaining original members, Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert were their usual modest and quiet selves. Gillian, who had a battle with cancer in 2007, was greeted with cheers when the spotlight first shone on her, while Stephen was perfectly happy not being in the spotlight and hiding behind the drums. The two new members, Phil Cunningham on synths, guitar and electronic drums and Tom Chapman on bass held their own. Given that he had some pretty big shoes to fill, Chapman seemed completely at ease and was clearly not simply a fill-in replacement for Hooky.
The set flew by and was a healthy mix of lesser-known songs and massive hits, some of which were a bit reworked. Adding to this, the background films included reedited classic videos from “True Faith” and “Blue Monday”. Highlights of the set included “The Perfect Kiss” and “Temptation” which had the jubilant crowd clapping and shouting “Oh, you’ve got GREY eyes!” The encore was a beautiful and moving tribute to the late Ian Curtis featuring three Joy Division songs against a backdrop of images of Curtis and Joy Division.
I was initially worried that the show might have too much of a retro vibe and make me feel old, but the songs felt far from dated. Sure they were tinged with a bit of soundtrack-of-my-life nostalgia, but they were still fresh enough to remind us that not all eighties music is full of cheese. And in light of the turbulent history of New Order, it’s a testament to them that they created timeless songs that, despite some of the lyrics, bring about so much life and joy.
© Renee Saviour, Music Vice
Age of Consent
Your Silent Face
Bizarre Love Triangle
5 8 6
The Perfect Kiss
Love Will Tear Us Apart
Photos of New Order at the Sony Centre:
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