Anyone who does not know the story of New Order has not only been under a large musical rock, but can now call themself a complete musical nitwit. New Order, or Joy Division without the eccentric Ian Curtis, is a legitimate icon in music history, especially when it comes to the top bands of the New Wave. On Thursday evening, the band played in AFAS Live, Amsterdam. It was their first full Dutch concert since 1985.
Before the British band entered the stage, the Chinese band Stolen were handed the unenviable job of warming up the crowd. The six young techno rockers, however, were able to win over the audience after just one song, with music clearly inspired by Joy Division and Kraftwerk. Accompanied by clips of pixel art and chromatic wrong-cut loops, the band gave everything, even when the hall sound completely disappeared without the band realizing it. The usual thanklessness of being a support band turned into a fulfilling experience that made the Far East merge with the West.
With loud cheers, the band entered the stage under the sounds of Wagner’s “Das Rheingold.” Large screens at the back of the Amsterdam hall’s stage immediately made it clear that this would be not only a musical, but certainly also a visual spectacle. With “Age of Consent”, from the 1982 album “Power, Corruption & Lies,” the band immediately showed the fans they would not only be entertained by new music from the latest album from 2015, “Music Complete”. No, New Order would delight the sold-out AFAS Live with old and new. But we already understood that in August, when the band visited Lowlands. Given the crowd, the band did not have to recapture the Netherlands, although the hit-heavy set list suggested otherwise. The best of almost 40 years of New Order was played, including, of course, “Regret,” which was brought out with full power.
Although New Order can now be seen as an institution, the source of their initial success was not forgotten. The band, led by guitarist/singer Bernard Sumner, brought the Joy Division songs with the same gusto as New Order’s own songs. Songs like “She Comes Silent,” “Disorder,” and of course, the encore “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” even brought the spirit of Ian Curtis back to life. Although Sumner’s voice was not at its best due to a minor cold, the band still sounded at top quality in the AFAS. New Order didn’t speak much between the songs, they let the music do the talking. And the music spoke quite well.
New Order even gradually managed to get the full AFAS Live from front to back dancing, despite the advanced average age of the audience. The further the show progressed, the easier it became, with the highlights being “Blue Monday,” almost at the end of the show, along with “Temptation,” which ended the official part of the concert. Joy Division encores “Atmosphere” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart” were the proverbial icing on the cake – the cake that was called New Order on Thursday evening.