As the members of New Order strolled onstage at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Sunday night, lead singer Bernard Sumner casually announced “Hope you’re going to enjoy the set. Here we go.” With that, they calmly waltzed the audience into their show with the instrumental “Elegia.” It was a brief moment of respite from what would become a New Order dance party.
After getting the crowd into the groove with “Crystal,” New Order followed with a three-punch combo of their classics “Regret,” “Ceremony” and “Age of Consent.” If anyone remained seated during these songs it was either because they couldn’t stand or they were completely dead inside.
Of course with New Order, a band that rose from the ashes of Joy Division, there was no way they could ignore their musical history. Sumner simply stated “Here’s a song we wrote with Joy Division” when introducing “Isolation” and the crowd was happy for their personal music history lesson.
As for history, there was no mention of original bassist Peter Hook’s absence, and new bassist Tom Chapman did a great job filling in those Hook-y bass lines. Drummer Stephen Morris proved you can create great dance beats playing a proper drum set and keyboardist Gillian Gilbert nonchalantly added those New Order synth hooks that are now and forever burned into our brains. Sumner sometimes flubbed a guitar lick and had to lower the vocal lines an octave every now and then, but, it turns out, he was performing with a bone fracture in his leg. I’m amazed he didn’t scream bloody murder throughout the show.
When introducing “Bizarre Love Triangle,” which will go down in history as one of the best and most influential songs of all time, Sumner seemed astounded by its appeal stating, “What is it about that song? I don’t know. If I knew, I’d put it in every song we did.” The audience was in no mood for examination and instead turned Merriweather Post Pavilion into a massive dance party, happily pogo-ing and dancing like Molly Ringwald as New Order continued with “True Faith,” “5 8 6,” “The Perfect Kiss,” “Blue Monday” and “Temptation.”
Ending the night with how their career began, Sumner asked, “Are there any Joy Division fans out there tonight?” and closed the show with three Joy Division songs. As pictures of Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis flashed on the video screen, along with the message ‘Forever Joy Division,’ New Order closed out the show with “Atmosphere,””Shadowplay,” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” However, this was no memorial service but instead a musical celebration. When any band or artist’s career is cut short, part of the loss is the idea of what that band could have become. There was no mourning here, because we know that that band became New Order.
Age of Consent
Here to Stay
Your Silent Face
Bizarre Love Triangle
5 8 6
The Perfect Kiss
Love Will Tear Us Apart
For more information on New Order, click here.
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