The Mark of Excellence

New Order

Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto, ON, October 23

> > Oct 24 2012

New Order - Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto, ON, October 23
Photo: Fil Zuzarte
By Cam LindsayIn 2012, there will always be an elephant in whatever room New Order play. Or should we say, an elephant missing? Having parted ways with co-founder/bassist/big mouth Peter Hook in 2007, New Order reforming last year without him had many fans feeling like something would be missing. (Hook hasn't exactly earned much sympathy, blasphemously touring both Joy Division and New Order albums with his band the Light.)

Playing their first Toronto show in over 19 years, Bernard "Barney" Sumner, Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert (with Phil Cunningham on guitar and synths, and Tom Chapman on bass) pulled out all the stops, bringing a first-class light show with lasers, individually catered visuals for each song and the energy of 20-somethings.

Walking out to some Ennio Morricone, they received a hero's welcome, beginning with poignant instrumental "Elegia" and then abruptly switching gears into the high-octane "Crystal." The band stayed true to the set list they'd been playing so far on tour, packing "Regret," "Ceremony" and "Age of Consent" into a thrilling triad early on.

Sumner then announced they'd throw in Joy Division's "Isolation," which was modernized and given plenty more muscle than the 1980 original. Using the screen to personalize each song, the affecting "Your Silent Face" was given extra love with its own short film. Only with the more recent "Waiting for the Sirens' Call" did the band falter, as Barney failed to stay on key. But it was nothing to pick nits about.

They saved the biggest hits for the second half: for "Bizarre Love Triangle," Sumner broke out his infamous baggy dance, bobbing around as he's always done without any care, and then he asked everyone else to bounce to their biggest hit, "Blue Monday," ending it with Barney joining Gillian on synths. For "True Faith," they introduced a remixed version that was surprisingly potent, while "The Perfect Kiss" sounded massive, rebounding those lovable frog samples off the walls off the venue's near-perfect acoustics. "Temptation" closed out the set, baiting people to get up and sing its irresistible lyrics.

They had to cut a song from the encore because of the curfew, but Sumner at least took a poll of which Joy Division song we wanted to hear: "Atmosphere" or "Transmission." They opted for the latter, revving up the crowd with the pulsating rhythm, then closed with a no-brainer: their late band's signature song "Love Will Tear Us Apart," flashing a photo of the late Ian Curtis out of respect.

Even at their highest peak, New Order never had the reputation for being a truly great live band, but on this night they rolled out one hell of a package, delivering a truly elating performance that was backed by some of the most effective visuals on the circuit. Witnessing just how inspiring New Order are in 2012, maybe we should be feeling a bit of sympathy for Peter Hook. Because he's missing out on something great.

To see Exclaim!'s New Order photo gallery, courtesy of Fil ZuZarte, head here.
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Every word true, it was an amazing show. Way more energy than I remember in the 80's...felt like I was back there again even if it was for a short time...Well Done Lads!! Come back soon, I'll be there for sure!
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The band was near flawless and I did not miss Hook at all. In fact, my favourite muscian was Chapman who stole most of my attention and even had Sumner complaining that the spot light was leaning in his direction. I really enjoyed the light show and chuckled at Sumner's attempt to dance to Bizzare Love Triangle. Remnants of seeing him play at CNE Grandstand in '87. At 56 Sumner can no longer hit the high notes and as such I do not think he did well on Bizzare Love Triangle and at times he gaspped for breath between words. But behind the band played on perfectly and I was completely entertained.
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Great show which brought together so much energy and great memories. The use of a second guitar was a bit overwhelming at times as they drowned out the synths and drums, but overall a fabulous show! Can't wait for the next tour and the possible album in 2013.
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They played Shadowplay, Atrmosphere and LWTUA in the encore the following night (no Isolation earlier in the show).

Choosing Transmission over Atmosphere is ridiculous. For shame, first night crowd. For shame!
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We went to the concert last Tuesday night and it was exactly as you said Cam... I honestly felt like I was hypnotized… from the very first note… the crowd ROSE and was never let down… to perform like they did at the end of their long and winding tour… gotta hand it to them… gotta hand it to Bernard!!! Yeah Peter's baseline was missed but the new recruits didn't disappointed that’s for sure… okay maybe just a little… Luv ya Peter!!! The homage to JD and Ian was almost like witnessing a birth… beautiful and brilliant…. I can now die in peace for having seen them for the very first time…. For songs that wern't played but would have loved to have heard? 60 Miles an Hour, Sub-Culture, Touched by the Hand of God and if they could Shell Shock…. Oh well… ended up listening to those on the drive back home… Got home at 12:30 but didn’t fall asleep until a little after 3AM… blood was pumping that’s for sure… and had to play with my pleasure zone....;-)
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