Saturday 2002-01-26 12:00:00 AM
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Sydney RAS Showgrounds
N/A, Capacity: N/A
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|5||60 Miles An Hour||
|8||Bizarre Love Triangle||
|11||Love Will Tear Us Apart||
From NewOrderOnline.com (Brad Edwards)
Write a review for this concert
It's not every day I get to offer my 2 cents about a New Order gig. So,
bearing in mind I've never seen them before (and have only video footage to
compare it to), here's my thoughts about the Sydney Big Day Out gig on
Australia Day, January 26.
To say I was excited is an understatement. After all, I flew there from
Adelaide with the sole purpose of seeing New Order. None of the other bands
on the bill really floated my boat. In hindsight Garbage were adequate,
Silverchair rocked quite nicely and Ratcat (yes, that Ratcat) were good for
a nostalgic laugh. But since everything else I wanted to see (Crystal
Method, Arthur Baker, White Stripes, Dave Clarke) either clashed with New
Order or would have prevented me getting a good vantage point for New Order,
then I really was there for just one band. The annoying schedule will be
the same for Adelaide which pisses me off but what are you going to do?
After a huge power struggle between maniacal Silverchair fans and ham-fisted
security goons, we finally managed to break into the fenced off front
section of the stadium (part of the security measures implemented after last
year's unfortunate mosh-related death) and score a prime position two rows
back from Hooky. The first row, I kid you not, was overrun by teenage girls
with cameras, making me feel simultaneously ancient, indignant that surely
they couldn't be 'real' fans but then consoled by the fact that some members
of the younger generation must have an admirable taste in music. Remember
that this was an hour before the gig so full credit to them - and if you're
on the list, I hate you for getting Hooky's drum sticks!
Ok, on with the show. The whole day the crowd was kinda subdued but I got
the sense it lifted during New Order's set. They have always been Triple J
faves and a pretty decent wave of enthusiasm had built by the time
Silverchair's feedback squalls came to a grinding halt and those purple
lights came on.
Crystal cranked. A perfect introduction to the rocking new New Order, which
had more than a few cynics silenced and probably the same amount of fans
thinking it funny how they buggered up the intro. It wouldn't be the last
mistake made but of course that's all part of the charm...
Transmission was no surprise and in truth, a little sluggish. But at the
time it had the crowd in a frenzy, the familiar chorus flooding the stadium
of 50 000 alterna-slogan-printed-on-T-shirt fans. Hooky lived up to all
expectations, playing up to the aforementioned teenage girls and grinding
lower than a man of his vintage has any right to. Every time he moved he
illicited cheers - he was clearly in his element.
Next came Regret. Again no surprise, but what a song. Never one of my all
time favourites, I don't mind saying I wiped a few tears away during the
opening verses. Absolutely flawless, absolutely timeless.
I forget the exact order but I'm sure 60 MPH came next and to my surprise,
one of the definite highlights of the show. If the crowd was excited before
that was nothing compared to the the massed jumping and singing that
accompanied this song - currently enjoying heavy rotation on JJJ. It was a
definite moment where the younger fans connected with those a little more
seasoned, like yours truly. Things got pumping a little later on but I'm
not sure if the adrenaline rush was matched - I think it was Hooky who said
he was blown away by the reaction: "Don't think we didn't notice!"
Love Vigilantes! Fuck me, I did not expect that! When Barney said he was off
to grab the melodica, I thought OK, time for Your Silent Face. But what a
pleasant surprise - especially since earlier in the day I had bemoaned to a
friend about the inflexibility of New Order's set lately. My faith, not that
it had ever really been waning, was restored to a healthy glow.
The famous New Order Flat Spot (TM) came next. Atmosphere (dedicated to
last year's BDO casualty, Jessica) had a solemn er, atmosphere, but what
Hooky was playing I have no fucking idea. It seemed from where I was
standing to be all over the shop, all blustering bass and godawful Barney
'whoops'! If there was ever a song where the 'whoops' don't work, it's this
one. Barney's guitar was then unslung for the keyboard numbers and was the
first sense I got of the band going through the motions. Sure Bizarre Love
Triangle and True Faith (is there anyone else out there who hates that
Perfecto mix?) went down well with the kids but I think that was more out of
recognition than on-stage craftsmanship. They pretty much played themselves
and to these ears sounded pretty tired. The programmed drums in BLT sounded
more like a Carter USM b-side than something produced by true electronic
pioneers. Barney looked bored.
Close Range, not one of my all time favourites, was adequate. Much better
was the closing trinity of Temptation, LWTUA and Blue Monday.
Temptation? Absolutely amazing. It's long been my favourite New Order track
but the way it ebbs and flows, builds and subsides, is something I only
fully appreciated seeing live. Sheer bliss, though Barney (tongue half in
cheek) chastised the Marion-guy a couple of times for mucking around with
the sequencer. LWTUA is probably what a lot of people were there to see.
Pre-Nirvana, it topped JJJ's Hot 100 countdown on an annual basis so it is a
song close to many people's hearts. The rousing chorus echoing around the
stadium surely quashed any notion that New Order should leave Joy Division
alone. It's their music and it's damn near perfection. After such a high,
the show ended with a bog-standard Blue Monday, prefaced by a bored Barney
saying " This is a song we all love to play". Only Hooky (and it has to be
said, crowd enthusiasm) prevented it from being a karaoke style disaster.
It wasn't awful but Barney was clearly disinterested and it left you (well,
me anyway) with the feeling that it should be put out to pasture for a
while. Let it become fun again and return to it later, much like the Joy
If I've sounded a little negative in places, well you've missed my point.
I'm only being critical as any anal NO fan might be in hindsight. For about
75 minutes I was in absolute heaven, a dream fulfilled and I adored every
minute of it. I never expected a perfect, flawless gig (hell, if you want
that, you go see Garbage) and was therefore far from disappointed. I would
have been more gutted if they sounded just like they'd been taken to with an
airbrush. Barney's vocals were actually hugely impressive and his
aeroplane-in-distress arm rotations, whistles and sub-Riverdance floor
routine are as charming as they are comical. Mind you, using the lyrics
monitor is a bit sad. Hooky loved every minute of it, played well (well,
we'll forget Atmosphere) and held the crowd in the palm of his hand . He
looks like he could do this for years. Stephen did a serviceable job,
nothing more or less. Certainly not the frog-in-a-blender drummer of old
but a joy to behold nonetheless. The new guy? No complaints.
I don't think I've forgotten any songs - perhaps I should have asked the
tall guy next to me who was SMS-ing song titles to someone throughout the
whole show. You know who you are! I didn't meet up with anyone from
Ceremony which was a bit sad - in fact I didn't see many NO tshirts all
day - you may have seen me in my grey Everthing's Gone Green shirt and Boags
cap. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Well, for me, it's on to Adelaide. It's been an expensive few weeks lately
(to top it off I got a speeding fine tonight - do'h!) but to think that I'll
have actually been to Manchester and seen New Order play not once but twice
in a short space of time makes me feel extremely lucky, and in equal parts,
like a sad old git. A little from column A and a little from column B...
Thanks for reading