New Order: Newcastle O2 Academy 8th May 2012

“Yaya Toure will Tear Us Apart”

Now as you know we have a strict policy at The Northern Line of only saying kind words. We don’t aspire to be the NME or to be one of those sites which deliberately courts controversy. But this review of New Order at the O2 Academy in Newcastle on Tuesday by our latest recruit, Ian Hall, was too good to ignore. And a band the size of New Order have either the shoulders to bear the criticism or will just ignore us!!!! A big thanks to Ian for his efforts………

Bernard Summer is not having a good week and the cause of his frustration is all happening in Newcastle. Technical delays are afoot yet although there’s been a bit of a delay New Order start reasonably well. After setting the mood with Lowlife’s Elegia, the band soon storm into Crystal and Regret. Two great guitar singles which despite a running battle with Barney and the sound guy sound ok, even if the vocal is a quite low in the mix. The first of the NO classics, Ceremony is ok at best, not helped by the fact that the bass sounds nothing like the original. Next up and somewhat amusingly Barney starts playing his melodica. In turn, I shout out rather enthusiastically to my mate “Love Vigilantes -its about the Falklands right” only to find that the rest of the band are playing the catchy Age of Consent. Barney promptly throws the instrument to the back of the stage realising he’s got another song to play.

After the not so crafty, Krafty, I cringe hearing the somewhat karaoke 1963, the True Faith B side. Bizarrely this is given another tour airing which is particularly odd considering how good the rest of this bands back catalogue is. Unfortunately, despite the classics, the earlier sound problems aren’t abated. As for Mr & Mrs Morris well…Stephen spends most of the night pushing buttons instead of drumming which surely one of his and Gillian’s children could have done leaving dad to fulfil his duty as drummer in the band. Gillian plays the odd riff here and there including the welcome addition of The Perfect Kiss but the playing is minimal as the backing track takes precedence. My mate Rookesy (bass player in erstwhile toon supergroup ‘the Stunt’) is convinced that the Hookey substitute is miming and is gradually getting more and more upset about it as the night goes on. At least he’s making a greater contribution than the other guitarist who you cannot hear at all. In fact things are going so downhill at this point the addition of Franz Klammer on bass would have been more appropriate.

One thing I have to constantly remind myself is that Barney was guitar player in Joy Division and it’s disappointing that he can’t always use this ability to give the songs more substance when they play live. Bizzare Love Triangle, to some the finest pop song ever written is a mess. Even his Bad lieutenant project made a better fist of it and if only he had played along to at least give the song some backbone instead of dancing like a drunken dad at his daughters wedding.

The highlight of the evening is the brilliant Temptation aided ever so slightly by 6musics tireless playing of the Substance remix. The fans love it too and finally the gigs got going and well we’ve got another three or four songs so perhaps the night could be great after all. Sadly it isn’t.

The lack of a Joy Division encore is most disappointing. Love will tear us apart is not played despite being on the set list. The set runs a little short ending with Blue Monday which seems pointless considering they’ve already played 586 which is like a better version of…Blue Monday. Helpfully the video screen kindly informs us what is being played, as if we’d somehow forgotten one of the key anthems of our youth. That said, the way the band murdered their own classic back catalogue tonight it’s just as well they stayed in the dressing room to avoid destroying another legacy.

Perhaps it was Barney’s retribution to the Geordies for the Toon’s poor showing against Man City on Sunday. Barney a devout red was clearly displeased with the whole event and seldom interacted with the crowd. In this case, it is Yaya Toure rather than love that has torn us apart.

By peter on May 10, 2012

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