A quick search of old New Order performances from their early days will show how raw they were as live musicians. Now with over 30 years of experience, 2 breakups, and an exile of a founding member under their belt they’ve improved slightly. But that has never mattered. It’s New Order, damn it!
For those who read our report on Garbage’s performance that happened just the night before, you know what the slope at Fort Canning Park does to the ankles. So it was with a heavy heart that we returned to the same venue.
The line-up that took to the stage only had Bernard Sumner as a recognisable face left in the band. Well Stephen Morris is still in the band too, but who remembers drummers anyway? (Except for you Narmi… you’re forever in our hearts)
‘Crystal’ blared out of the speakers to start off the set (leaving us to wonder what they’ve kept for the encore) with Sumner chiming in with a miss-strum on his riffs, and it assured us that we’re at a real New Order gig. It’s not an authentic New Order experience till Sumner f*cks up his parts.
We rarely felt the non-presence of Peter Hook. probably because they haven’t written any new material since they regrouped, and all replacement Tom Chapman’s really doing is replicating Hook’s.. urm… hooks on the bass. But don’t hate on him, we just have to wait till he’s actually involved in writing new material.
Fans constantly interrupted between songs to request their favourite hits by chanting. Most often it was ‘Temptation’, to which Sumner replied “We’re not going to play that one. We’re not going to play ‘Blue Monday’. We’re not going to play ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’.
“We’re only playing our obscure stuff, like this one…” and proceeded to play a little known Joy Division track ‘Isolation’ to roaring cheers from hardcore fans.
Obviously, he was kidding. Because just 3 songs after a karaoke-esque ‘Bizzare Love Triangle’, they whipped out ‘Blue Monday’, that had believers of his ruse kicking themselves for falling for such a ridiculous claim. Feeling somewhat inadequate for not needing to play the guitars on this track, Sumner proceeds to slowly take over the synths from Gillian Gilbert who’s left just staring on as Sumner loses himself on a solo.
They ended their set with ‘Temptation’, pleasing fans who’d have surely mobbed the stage if the song hadn’t been played. And we say ended the set, because the entire encore was dedicated to Ian Curtis and Joy Division, in what felt like a separate concert.
As the familiar riff of ‘Transmission’ came on, the shackles of inhibition that had been holding down the Singaporean crowd were broken and ankles be damned, we danced the f*ck out to the radio. Images of Ian Curtis with text like “Forever Joy Division” flooded the screen as the gig came to a close with ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’.
New Order Live in Singapore 2012 took place on 22 August 2012 at Fort Canning Park Singapore. For a full image gallery of what went down, check it out in the gallery.