‘Absolutely brilliant’, ‘mental’, ‘just brilliant’.
The crowd which left Wolverhampton’s Civic Hall on a cold, wet, November night was in awe.
New Order had clearly wowed them, the cheering and whistling at the end was deafening, so loud it physically hurt. Though the band’s tight, clean performance was deserving of nothing less.
The decision to open with new material in the form of Singularity was a bold one for a band with so many iconic hits, yet one which paid off dividends as demonstrated by the audience’s ecstatic reaction to it. Following this they made their way through just some of their vast back catalogue, while mixing hits from their 2015 album Music Complete – which they urged everyone to buy from ‘record shops or even supermarkets’.
The band made full-use of the Civic’s wide stage, with music videos or patterns reminiscent of computer screensavers playing out behind them, while lights and lasers – giving the night a slightly 80s edge - beamed out onto the crowd, creating the feeling they were inside a giant kaleidoscope.
It was a crowd that loved every second of the set which lasted for almost an hour and three quarters. The sold out venue was packed with people dancing as the set became more and more dance based.
The audience was largely middle-aged, those who had undoubtedly been fans since day one, and who’s first instinct at a gig was to enjoy it, rather than to watch it through the screens of their smartphones. They were totally caught up in the moment.
After over an hour of playing the audience’s enthusiasm had still not abated, and the band managed to increase it even more, launching into True Faith, followed by Temptation. Although they left the stage after this, the fact that they hadn’t performed Love Will Tear Us Apart or Blue Monday meant that the band once famed for not giving encores were fooling no one, and after no more than five minutes, and amid screams and cheers, they returned to the stage.
Atmosphere accompanied by its video, heavy with images of Ian Curtis, was followed by Love Will Tear Us Apart, during which the message ‘Forever Joy Division’ appeared on screen, allowing no one to forget where the band’s roots lay. Yet finishing the set on Blue Monday – the biggest selling 12” of all time – was evidence that they had surpassed them.
By Alex Binley