“…since we’re in San Francisco, we thought we’d do something special.” Bernard Sumner, singer and guitarist for New Order, as preface to an unexpected, second encore closer and cover of “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium last night. One of just a half dozen dates on this North American tour, the concert showed a band that has worked to refine their live set, with updated visuals as well as a bit of tweaking and reworking of what has become their usual selection of songs. It was definitely the best I’ve heard them in the past four years, and they seemed most energized during their performance of new song, “Plastic”. The sold out crowd of around 7,000 never stopped moving and bouncing as they ripped through a sequence of favorites at the end with “True Faith”, “The Perfect Kiss”, and “Blue Monday”. As has been tradition, they closed out with an encore of a few Joy Division covers, but the Scott McKenzie cover at the very end showed that they can still surprise when they are inspired to do so.
New Wave and electronic music pioneers New Order will be returning to the United States next month for a limited number of special performances, one festival appearance, and one show in British Columbia. La Roux – with new album Trouble in Paradise due July 7 – will be supporting at the two California shows in San Francisco and Los Angeles. New Order are also working on new music, and debuted one of those new songs, “Singlularity“, at their appearance at Lollapolooza Brazil back in March. [Read more…]
This is probably the first and last concert in which I will have seen and heard two of my three all-time favorite songs performed live at the same show – New Order’s “Blue Monday”, and “How Soon Is Now?” by original guitarist and co-songwriter for The Smiths, Johnny Marr. If only Depeche Mode were on hand to play “Never Let Me Down Again”, I would have had all three. Obviously, the rare combination of Johnny Marr and New Order playing on the same bill made for an incredible night of music at The Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Though they never shared the stage at the same time, it was a show that celebrated some of the most significant and influential players in music in the past three decades. Johnny Marr’s first solo record, The Messenger, came out earlier this year to great critical reception, and his set included a mix of the new work as well as a few songs from The Smiths, Electronic number, and one cover. New Order changed things up a bit since their tour last year, playing “World (The Price of Love)” live for the first time and closed out with an encore of three Joy Division songs.
Last night was the second show of New Order’s 10-date North American tour (spanning the U.S., Canada, and Mexico). One of the most important bands of my lifetime, they played classic New Order and Joy Division songs at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, which had a stage that dwarfed the one that they played last December at their concert at Troxy in London, which I was fortunate enough to have attended. Having been front row center for both shows, it was a bit surreal for me to see them from the exact same vantage point at such different venues and in different countries – both in their own country (which, at the time, was their first date there in five years) and now here in the United States. As the band is among my all-time favorite groups, I feel a bit challenged to evaluate the night, as the band and their music means more to me than I can put into words. It was really a stellar show, and it of course leaves me wondering, in a hopeful way, about the future of this legendary band.
This is the second in a series of photojournals covering concerts during my trip to England and France. Tonight’s performance was New Order, which was held at the Troxy in East London, England on December 10th, 2011. [Read more…]