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 …Read more...