New Order Sunderland Mayfair 1984, Newcastle Mayfair 1986 & Newcastle Academy 2006

New Order Sunderland Mayfair 15th August 1984
neworder1984I have a theory that, during the 80s, you could judge the success of New Order by how low Hookie was carrying his bass. Each time I saw the band that bass seemed to slip further down his leg, reaching a point around his knees, where I guess it couldn’t get any lower. I spent the night at the Sunderland gig staring in wonder at Peter Hook and that bass. I swear he was wrestling and fighting with his guitar, as if it had a life of its own, and was trying to escape his clutches. He was definitely becoming a fully fledged rock star; indeed the entire band seemed to exude a level of confidence way above that which I had witnessed on the previous two occasions I saw them. They were riding on a wave of success; Blue Monday had propelled them to another place, and the Mayfair was packed. The ticket it pretty impressive too :). Setlist: Face Up; Thieves Like Us; Age of Consent; Your Silent Face; Sooner Than You Think; ICB; The Village; 5 8 6; Sunrise; The Perfect Kiss; Blue Monday (cue for major dancing).
New Order Newcastle Mayfair 10th September 1986. neworder1986New Order released two albums before I saw them again; these were Low-Life (1985) and Brotherhood (1986). Their set at Newcastle Mayfair in 1986 drew heavily from their most recent release. I recall being disappointed, largely because they didn’t play Blue Monday, and because there were few songs that I recognised at all. This gig certainly wasn’t one of the best times that I have seen New Order, and to be honest I remember little about the gig. I think Hookie’s bass remained at knee height. It was 20 years until I saw them again. Setlist: State of the Nation; Everything’s Gone Green; Way of Life; Angel Dust; Paradise; Weirdo; Confusion; Subculture; Age of Consent; Bizarre Love Triangle; The Perfect Kiss.
Newcastle Academy 11th Oct 2006. newroder06Roll on 20 years and David and I were in Newcastle Academy to see New Order. This was their first visit to the North East since the Mayfair concert of 1986. In the interim the band had released 4 albums including the highly successful Waiting for the Sirens’ Call, which came out in 2005, and was generally recognised as a return to form. Gillian Gilbert left the band in 2001, and was replaced by Phil Cunningham. The rest of the line-up (Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris) remained unchanged. Over the 20 year period, there had been long gaps between releases and concerts, with New Order spending a lot of time in America. Their UK shows were mainly restricted to appearances at festivals, a small number of shows in Manchester and some arena concerts elsewhere. As a result, this Newcastle return was hugely anticipated, and tickets sold out immediately they went on sale. The Academy was completely packed; we were on the floor close to the stage and couldn’t move, and the band didn’t let the crowd down. New Order played a long set drawn from across their career, including a handful of Joy Division songs. That night they played with a passion, and seemed to be in a good mood. A great concert. Hookie’s bass still remained at knee height, which was comforting. The ticket price had risen from £5 in 1986 to £32.50 in 2006, which was less comforting. Setlist at Newcastle Academy in 2006: Crystal Regret; Ceremony; Who’s Joe?; These Days (Joy Division); Transmission (Joy Division); Krafty; Waiting for the Sirens’ Call; Your Silent Face; Guilt Is a Useless Emotion; Bizarre Love Triangle; Temptation; The Perfect Kiss; Blue Monday. Encore: Shadowplay (Joy Division); Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division).
Sadly New Order split in 2008, the other members fell out with Peter Hook in a very public manner, and ultimately regrouped without him. Laura and saw their Newcastle Academy concert in 2012, which I blogged about at the time.

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