By: Fridae Mattas

On October 23rd New Order hit Toronto to play the first of two sold out shows ending off their 2012 North American Tour at The Sony Centre for Performing Arts. I completely forgot about this show, the month of October has been extremely busy for me. I was filtering press releases when I received media confirmation a few hours prior to doors.

New Order are a bit before my time, the only song I could think of that I knew was “Blue Monday”. It’s always fun to cover old school bands I would have never thought I would get a chance to see live, nevermind actually shoot. British band New Order was formed in 1980 after Joy Division singer Ian Curtis committed suicide. They regrouped and renamed the band New Order with majority of the original members still in the band. New Order today is: Bernard Sumner – Vocals and Guitar, Stephen Morris – Drums, Gillian Gilbert – Keys, Vocals and Guitar, Phil Cunningham – Guitar and Keys and the newest member of the band replacing original member Peter Hook is Bassist Tom Chapman.

I arrived just on time, literally! I reached the stage area and was immediately given the break down by our media contact, I didn’t even have a chance to configure my camera’s setting as the lights went out and the first tune “Elegia” began. We were allowed to shoot the first four songs after the intro, this is very rare. Usually the media shoots the first three sometimes only two. This was my first time actually shooting a show at the Sony Centre, I’ve covered other events at the venue but they were Ballets and Musicals that do not permit any photography during the performance.

Once the intro wrapped I started shooting from the right wing and migrated to the left, we were told to shoot from the wings and not block the middle. I wanted to take a few shots from the back of the venue of the crowd but I didn’t know if I was permitted to. It was a sold out show, the people came to listen, dance and watch their favorite band. The crowd varied in ages, the youngest being in their late teens which surprised me because I was expecting a much older crowd. I tried to observe the performance as much as I could while photographing the band but I didn’t really get the full effect until I sat in my seat to watch the performance.

I was turning to go back to the media area when the media contact reminded me I still had one more song to shoot. So used to three tunes that I completely miscounted how many tracks were left. After the fourth track ended we headed back to the media room and I was the only one who went back in to review the set. I finally found my seat as New Order played “Isolation” a Joy Division cover followed by “Here To Stay”. I was amazed by the lighting and the disco ball was a nice touch. It felt like I was watching a 3D concert movie because they also had a screen with various different images one being the bands name, it was too cool.

All of the members played their instruments well, but not as enthusiastic as you would expect. Gillian could smile a little more and show some vibrance on stage, she was not very lively. Frontman Sumner, did well vocally for his age although it was rather pitchy in a few tracks. I could barely hear him when I was in my seat during the performance because the guitars were drowning him out. He also needs a little more crowd interaction, the connection with his audience wasn’t there, he kept looking at his guitar. The whole band needs to step it up a notch for the entertainment factor, I was expecting a little more personality and showmanship from these veterans. Compared to other reunion shows I have recently covered, they were a little disappointing obviously relying on the lights and disco ball to keep the crowd on their toes.

Regardless of my critical journalistic perspective as a music fan I enjoyed myself, it was like discovering a new band and the lighting was definitely my favorite part. I went in thinking I didn’t know many of the songs but I did! Once I heard the songs live, performed by the actual band that created them, I surprisingly knew more tunes than I thought. It was so fun to sing along to “Blue Monday” and “Bizarre Love Triangle”.

A fan of the band or not, New Order will bring their 80’s infusion into your life! The fans were ecstatic, throughly enjoying themselves as New Order played most of their hits. This crowd was the most dancey I have seen in a while, more people need to dance to their favorite music. The two encores that closed this seventeen track set were Joy Division covers “Transmission” and “Love Will Tear Us A Part”. If New Order hits the road again and you are an 80’s music fan, this show you must experience. Major thanks goes to the fabulous folks at Goldenvoice Canada/AEGLive.

  COPYRIGHT © 2012 FRIDAE MATTAS. All Rights Reserved

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