We’re Changing Our Ways Taking Different Roads

We went to see Peter Hook And The Light on Friday night at the Apollo. Some friends had double booked themselves and gave us the tickets gratis. I’ve taken a purist line about New Order recently, holding the view that New Order without Hooky isn’t really New Order. I’m not sure where that leaves me re: Hooky playing without any other members of New Order but he’s got as much right to play those songs as anyone- his bass is as much the sound of Joy Division and 80s New Order as any other instrument, maybe more so. It’s a massive shame that Hooky and Sumner have got so far apart. I can’t help but feel that if Rob Gretton had lived he’d have banged their heads together and sorted them out. But it is what it is and the promise of both the Substance albums played in full and some good reviews was enough to go.

The first half was New Order working forwards through Substance chronologically, the dance influence building from Everything’s Gone Green and Temptation through to Bizarre Love Triangle and True Faith. One of the highlights of the gig is seeing Hooky and co performing New Order songs that the original band haven’t done live for years- Thieves Like Us and Confusion are superb and The Perfect Kiss is enormous with its extended bass ending. Subculture and State Of The Nation both get welcome airings. First half set closer 1963 is almost better than the recorded version. There’s a rawness to this band that stands in contrast to the other group and it’s good to see and hear.

After a short break they return for the Joy Division set. Hooky tells us that the first time he played the Apollo was in 1978 supporting Buzzcocks and that the venue seemed a lot bigger then. He seems genuinely moved at the sight of a full house. There’s a lot of warmth for him here and a lot of older gig goers willing him on, plus a few youngsters who clearly want to hear Joy Divison songs done live. The Joy Division songs are rough and ready, David Potts’ guitar turned up loud and distorted, two basses (Hooky’s son on one of them) and Hooky now fully confident on vocals. The vocals on some of New Order’s songs are well out of Hooky’s range and former Monaco bandmate Potts fills in but Hooky’s gravelly voice is ideally suited to the JD material and he sings them like he means it. Inevitably after building a head of dance steam in the first half the tone changes as they work their way through early JD material, songs like No Love Lost, Komakino, Warsaw and Leaders Of Men, with a detour into a frenetic run through These Days. Things really get going again with Transmission and then the intensity of Dead Souls. Everyone knows what the last two songs will be- an emotionally charged Atmosphere (dedicated to the recently departed Alan Wise) and then Love Will Tear Us Apart (dedicated to  Ian Curtis, naturally). When the accounts are finally taken, the dust has settled and it’s all totted up Love Will Tear Us Apart will surely be this city’s anthem and it becomes a full on, audience joining in version. New Order have performed this song for decades now, reclaiming it from the dead back in the 80s. The Light with Hooky singing do it just as well as the current version of NO do. Hooky sings it better too. When the final chords ring out, guitars are dropped to the stage floor and a shirtless Hooky takes the applause before walking off to the dressing room, the crowd carry on the chorus for a minute or two, dragging the band back on stage for another bow. No encore. No need.

Love Will Tear Us Apart (Pennine Version)