Anyone with more than four Facebook friends is well aware that New Order – some of whose members were previously in Joy Division – gigged on the BMO Harris Pavilion stage at Summerfest tonight. (Were my five selfies with an empty stage behind me too much?)
Currently, New Order is on a mini tour promoting, well, nothing at all, really. The band released a B-sides compilation, "Lost Sirens," in 2013 but its last album came out in 2005 – and although it didn’t spawn coke piles of hits like records past, it has its share of addictive tracks without sounding dated.
It had been 25 years since New Order played in Milwaukee – in 1989 the group shared the stage with PIL and The Sugarcubes – a fact that New Order frontman Bernard Sumner reminded us of tonight.
If memory serves, the word-of-mouth reviews of the ‘89 show were not flattering. I remember a friend saying she would have been more entertained by a boom box blasting "Blue Monday" in front of a collection of cardboard cut-outs.
But that wasn’t the show we got tonight. Sumner, who is 58 years old, stood in the shadows with his bandmates for much of the performance, but delivered enough enthusiasm to fulfill a potentially once-in-a-lifetime concert opportunity for long-time fans.
Sumner is a resilient character, a survivor who has managed to keep his sh*t together despite the suicide of former Joy Division bandmate / friend Ian Curtis and the downward spiral of Peter Hook, bassist in both bands.
It was inspiring to see him so strong tonight. Uncharacteristic of his younger self, he even clapped his hands over his head and offered genuine sentiments of gratitude to the crowd.
Oh, how age changes us.
But fans had to wait for the goods, both old and new, to be delivered by Sumner and company.
Billed as an 8 p.m. show, New Order did not take the stage until almost 10 p.m. DJ Whitney Fierce opened the show for almost two hours and her beats seemed to drag on, at least for those of us who didn’t drop ecstasy on our way through the gates.
Once on stage, New Order played a mix of new and old material – as well as several Joy Division "covers." New songs included "Singularity" and "Plastic" – a slick, seven-minute dance-pop number that debuted at the Chicago show last night.
"It’s important as a band we continue to write new songs," Sumner said.
And even though philosophically most of us in the audience would agree with that effort, let’s face it, we were there, mostly, for the hits. We came to dance, but more so, we came to remember.
Drunk or half drunk or not, long ago we let these songs serve as anthems for overly romantic notions of failure or the overly exciting love adventures that we would someday hopefully experience and even though we have more answers now, the painful hopefulness of the songs continue to be alluring.
And indeed, the memory-triggering hits were plentiful tonight: "Ceremony," "Age Of Consent," "Bizarre Love Triangle," "True Faith," "Blue Monday" and "Temptation" all made the cut. (Considering the parade of oldies, "Loves Vigilantes" felt left out.)
Also, Joy Division songs "Atmosphere" and the fan fave "Love Will Tear Us Apart" contributed to the well-rounded set list. Although, something was a bit off about "Love Will Tear Us Apart," the second encore song, which surprisingly didn't have quite the clamoring effect live. I missed the dramatic opening and, I admit, Curtis' voice.
But overall, it was a compelling show – with some muffled-sound issues at times – but having the chance to dance and sing with a thousand or so other dark souls was worth its weight in gold. Or, at the very least, it allowed many of us to cross one more must-see concert off the bucket list.
New Order set list:
Age of Consent
Your Silent Face
Bizarre Love Triangle
5 8 6
The Perfect Kiss
Love Will Tear Us Apart
The wait was painfull with the same beat blasting forever. Agree with chadomac that the show should have been listed as 10pm. After 1.5 hour delay, we bailed at 9:30 and went to other stages. BMO and Summerfest screwed up big time. FYI, same thing happend at REO show.
Summerfest did a horrible job planning and promoting this show. Why not advertise it as 8 PM DJ Whitney Fierce, 10 PM New Order? By advertising it the way they did, they had a lot of people expecting New Order to start no later than 8:45ish. Although it wasn't her fault, the crowd turned on the DJ several times when it just wouldn't end. Nobody expected her to play 2 hours of thump-thump-thump and it became mind-numbing to those of us waiting for the headliner to start. All of this could easily been avoided. Also, having two dance acts play at a seated pavillion as opposed to one of the other more open stages seemed like a curious decision as well. Horrible experience.
2 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Molly Snyder
Published Oct. 30, 2014
Maritza Paz owns two restaurants, both called Chef Paz, but located 4,000 miles apart with one in Peru and the other in West Allis at 9039 W. National Ave.
Published Oct. 29, 2014
After nearly 10 years of more or less being off the radar with only the occasional stand-up gig, comedian Dave Chappelle decided to embark on an earnest comeback tour and many presumed - although some questioned if - he could bring it back.
Published Oct. 27, 2014
For part of September, Mr. Webo's Mexican restaurant, 2301 S. Howell Ave., had irregular hours. Then a sign appeared on the door saying it was closed for remodeling. Now the signs are off the building, there's paper on the windows and rumors of eviction.
Published Oct. 26, 2014
In 2002, Mitchell Wakefield opened Tess with a business partner, 2499 N. Bartlett Ave. Today, Wakefield owns the restaurant with his wife, Ashley. Inspired by a friend with Celiac disease, Wakefield developed a menu at Tess that is 75 percent gluten-free.
Published Oct. 25, 2014
In 1941, John P. Kallas started Kallas Honey, a local business that will soon turn 75. The company launched in the Kallas' Glendale home and later moved to a larger facility, also in Glendale. In 1999, Kallas Honey moved to its current facility at 5500 W. Douglas Ave.
Published Oct. 24, 2014
In May, Omar Amin - along with cousin and business partner Alaa Musa - opened BB's, 633 W. Wisconsin Ave. "BB's" stands for "build a breakfast" and "build a burger." Build-your-own smoothies and milkshakes are also available.
Published Oct. 22, 2014
Many Milwaukeeans who grew up in the `60s, `70s and `80s remember the Kooky Cooky House - an electronic gingerbread cookie factory that featured dozens of moving parts - that was located in the now defunct Capitol Court Mall. This year, an updated Kooky Cooky House returns to Discovery World.
Published Oct. 21, 2014
Milwaukee music venue Shank Hall will celebrate 25 years in business in November. For this latest segment of Milwaukee Talks, OnMilwaukee.com sits down with owner Peter Jest to hear about the best shows of the past 2 1/2 decades, the fire that almost destroyed the music room, the role Spinal Tap played in it all and much more.
Published Oct. 19, 2014
Kevin Spencer is well aware of the backlash that can happen from calling oneself a magician or an illusionist. Spencer - along with his wife, Linda - brings "Spencers: Theatre of Illusion" to the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, on Saturday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. The show is a mix of theater, rock concert and magic.
Published Oct. 19, 2014
What started out as a hobby for Laron Taylor is now a demanding full time job. His small business, Lai Lida Cookies, is doing better than ever and Taylor says he will soon offer bake-at-home cookie dough, too.