Confidence Man bring the party and New Order give a euphoric ‘Joy Division’ ending to their UK Tour in Leeds.
Words – Ruth Shay , Photos – John Hayhurst
The word ‘legend’ is used too often in my opinion, occasionally it is warranted, however, I’m not going to attach that word to tonight’s performance, but many who attended will do. That’s not to say that it wasn’t quite magnificent, and entertaining, but there was a distinct feeling of its just another gig for Sumner and Co tonight.
First though, Confidence Man, the antithesis of what was to follow, full of bright sunshine energy – they brought the dance party to an audience that were mostly scratching their heads and looking puzzled. Janet Planet and Sugar Bones have taken the festival season by storm this year with their fierce choreography set to a Eurotrash camp club soundtrack. The infectious singalong earworm choruses stay with you for the rest of the year, eventually they wear down the crowd who finally relent and join in with ‘Boyfriend’ and ‘Holiday’. Another 5,000 fans converted ensuring next season they will play to even bigger audiences.
For New Order, this was the last night of a short tour and should have been full of energy and drive, a big send off from the UK as they trot back over to the States to play the YouTube Theatre in Los Angeles. It started well enough, and lets face it they were never renowned for their witty repartee, but there was little evidence of chat in-between songs, and whilst that can be overlooked when you burst out hits like ‘Regret’ and ‘Age of Consent’ the mid section of deeper cuts left 60% of the audience here just waiting for ‘True Faith’ and ‘Blue Monday’.
The stage is set quite high and they are placed further back than normal, which meant the front row of die hard fans probably didn’t see drummer Stephen Morris all night. At least we should be thankful that Peter Hook isn’t playing as they wouldn’t have seen his bass guitar either as it’s slung so low, Tom Chapman on the other hand (Hookys replacement) decides to spend most of the gig right at the front and to be fair, several times Bernard Sumner walked to the front monitors and in front of the lights, just so we could get a proper look at him.
They seem to have a Floydesque gargantuan array of back projections and lazers together with a smoke machine with an overdrive problem. In fact, someone did mention to me that they have turned into a modern day Pink Floyd, a synonym that became more fitting as the gig went on.
It was the first outing (on this tour) for ‘Perfect Kiss’ which was the only additional moment that you could say was ‘special’ for the last night of the tour. The expected euphoria for ‘True Faith’, ‘Blue Monday’ and ‘Temptation’ came to fruition in the end, and then the encore took the whole gig into a different dimension.
The huge screen at the back showed the beady eyes of Ian Curtis staring back at you while encore opener ‘Atmosphere’ kicks off a celebration of Joy Division. More images celebrating Curtis’s brief life flashed throughout ‘Transmission’ and the finale of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. That’s how to end a gig, with a song that is truly legendary, as it transcends four decades and was probably also played down the road at the Leeds Uni Indie Disco on freshers week.
In the end New Order triumphed, saving their best till last and everyone left with a spring in their step, but next time lets keep the momentum going from the off, otherwise you may as well just stay home and put a record on.
- Age of Consent
- Your Silent Face
- The Perfect Kiss
- Be a Rebel
- Bizarre Love Triangle
- Vanishing Point
- True Faith
- Blue Monday
- Love Will Tear Us Apart