After seven years, the loss of a founding member, and the addition of some replacement players, New Order returned to New York City. After a few years of battling it out in the press with former bassist, Peter Hook -- who left in 2007, the '80s new wave and elecronica legends were welcomed back with open arms to the Big Apple for the first of two sold-out gigs at the historic Roseland Ballroom in Midtown.
Arriving after 9 p.m. on stage, it was a heroes cheer and thunderous applause as Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert, Phil Cunningham and new bassist, Tom Chapman walked out to Sergio Leone's theme to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. "Obviously we are New Order. Sorry for the delay, got held up by your president. If I was American, I would vote for Barack Obama, he is one cool guy," Sumner said and divided the room into cheers and jeers before even playing a single note. "But, I am not American," Sumner cheekily then said, and grabbing his guitar and the band broke out into the opening song, the instrumental electronic waltz, "Elegia." It was then directly into "Crystal," which began the dance party of the Autumn. As the band performed under a massive screen that projected their music videos, and various graphics, it was the video for "Crystal" that gained much buzz around Roseland, at it was the video that inspired Brandon Flowers of The Killers to name his band after the fictitious band in that video.
Next the band broke out into their first single, "Ceremony," which then turned Roseland into Manchester, England's Hacienda club, which the band helped launch and where they played many nights, forming from the ashes of Joy Division. In between songs, Sumner thanked all the fans for waiting for New Order to return. He talked about the events they had encountered on the road and all of their years together as a band. Thanks to a brilliant light show and a catalog of songs where each one outdid the last, for the 105 minutes they were on stage, it was a reminder why their music is timeless and why everyone in the room was starting their weekend early. Hit-after-hit, from "Age of Consent, to "Bizarre Love Triangle," "True Faith," "The Perfect Kiss," and "Blue Monday," New Order was gone for a long time, but not forgotten. They cemented the reason why they were worth the wait.
As the first set ended with "Temptation," the band retreated to the wings and took a brief break before coming back for an encore that paid tribute to Ian Curtis, the late singer of Sumner, Morris and Hook's first band: Joy Division. Ian Curtis took his own life on the eve of their first U.S. tour. "It would be discourteous for us to not pay tribute to Joy Division," Sumner said to the crowd before the band broke out into the haunting and somber Joy Division track, "Atmosphere." As they played on, images from that song's music video were shown and images of Curtis were spliced in. While the mood in the room changed, it was then back to the near-perfect and closest thing Joy Division had to a pop song, "Love Will Tear Us Apart," that brought the room back to raging dance party it was previously.
As brilliant as New Order was, the one thing that kept coming to mind was the sense of nostalgia. No new songs were played, despite the fact that a new EP called Lost Sirens, which consists of outtakes and B-Sides from their last record, will be released. As amazing as it all was, one of the reasons they and Hook allegedly do not work together anymore is over the Joy Division songs. Hook tours with his new band, The Light, and performs the tracks from that band. He will now perform New Order songs and gets criticized for it, while Sumner and Morris do it with the members of New Order and get praised. It is an interesting juxtaposition, however, as it happens separately. It just means double the fun for the fans, until they hopefully get back together again.