New Order filled the Greek Theatre with sounds of past and present Sunday night. (Kevin Cummins)
There’s a reason why people become legends; it usually involves tragedy, passion and, in this case, amazing music. Last night at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, New Order proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are epic.
La Roux opened the concert with incredible skill. Elly Jackson’s ambiguous persona and angelic voice resonated thoughout the 5,000-plus seats in the venue and welcomed all the Joy Division/New Order followers. It wasn’t quite dark yet, but people were already waving hands in the air and shaking their bodies as hard as they could to “In For The Kill,” “Quicksand” and the favorite, “Bulletproof.” That clearly signaled a great evening in the making. By the time La Roux played the last jam, the venue filled, the energy was high and the expectations even bigger.
New Order, the British electro/rock band took the stage, and instantly the black-clad crowd was at attention. The group began with the instrumental lullaby “Elegia” from their third studio album, 1985’s Low-Life. The song was moody, beautiful and tragic; it felt like they opened up with an ode to the defunct Joy Division.
Things really got moving when the band performed “Isolation,” a Joy Division cover that the crowd went wild for. Bernard Sumner’s voice was just as it was decades back: beautiful and haunting. Then came “Close Range,” and the mood was so uplifting and so emotive that it felt like they were, in a way, weeping and rejoicing their first love, Joy Division. Sumner and his band mates also serenaded the enthusiastic crowd with “Your Silent Face,” “The Perfect Kiss” and the dark and lovely favorite, “Blue Monday.”
By this point the venue was packed, and the adrenaline was flowing; it was a perfect time for the ever-lovely and uplifting, famed song “Tempration,” from the film Trainspotting. People throughout the Greek Theatre began to fling their hair, shake their bodies with abandon and smile at each other. Everyone had at last found the magical cusp of the concert; they were all one.
It may be decades after the song’s release, but it was evident that New Order’s music still resonates across all ages, all genders and all walks of life. The legends were alive and well, and we were witnessing it first hand. Whoa! People were sweating, hair was wet and bodies shook like it was the last dance of humanity.
It seemed like the show was over after that, and if it had been, it would have been a perfect end. But, it got even better.
The band took the stage once more to perform “Atmosphere,” a Joy Division cover from their 1980 single that was only released in France. The song was limited to 1,578 copies, with “Dead Souls” as a B-side. That performance came accompanied by the Joy Division cover and closing song, “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” The song was performed alongside images of Ian Curtis and a flashing sign that said, “Forever Joy Division.”
All those present can attest to the fact that the British group is comprised of tragedy, passion and irrevocable talent. Whether you were able to witness Joy Division in the late ’70s, a fan of New Order in the ’80s or just happen to be someone that loves great music, this concert was something else. It was an event that fused the past with the present and reclaimed electro/rock as a vehement force that will forever be present. Thank you, New Order.