bandwagon. I am not claiming to be a lifelong fan nor am I too familiar with their music, moves, and their impressive body of work. I should have been a fan of them during adolescence but alas back then I was youthfully arrogant and too focused on Classical Music to accept or acknowledge - let alone listen to - other genres and types of music.
When I was a teen, New Order was at the top of their game, but I had barely heard of them and had rarely heard their music. This is certainly to my detriment because seen retrospectively and in perfect hindsight, they were one of the best bands of their times, and I should have embraced them at the time. It was the pandemic that brought them under my radar and purview, which brought to light and showcased to me how good they indeed are.
As a matter of fact, I am not too sure they themselves are fully aware of how good they are, and this seeming inferiority complex might have come about mostly because of how they came about in the first place. Like phoenix, they rose out of the ashes of the once promising and thriving Joy Division, which was cut short by the untimely and unfortunate death of its front singer.
Yet the decision to reimagine and reinvent their music and to combine rock with electronic music and dance produced exhilarating and fascinating songs that make you feel good deep inside while also making you sway and move to their notes. In my view, both Power, Corruption & Lies, and their best album compilation Substance may just well be among two of the best albums of all time.
New Order’s music, particularly the utterly wonderful triple combo of “Blue Monday,” “Temptation,” and “Run” alternatively filled most of my rainy days during this lonely and often difficult and challenging pandemic. The first one is a classic and to me a perfect example of how electronic music could and should be. The official 7+ min video is minimalist, hypnotic, and mesmerizing but equally brilliant in bringing back forgotten trace memories of floppy disks and slow computers.
The second music video - the song “Temptation” - feels like taken straight out of a nouvelle vague film, and it bridges and segues into the third video, my most recent discovery, which erupts in joyful and energetic dancing at the end. Life is a joyful dance despite blue days, various temptations, and our constant run-of-the-mill running around to survive and get by.
When after months of being on the run in my quest for a job and looking for some much-needed income and finally ended up landing the job I had aimed and wished for, I followed up on the promise I had made myself: I had told myself right after the interview that if I indeed got the job, I would treat and reward myself by buying a ticket to see New Order live and in-person on their Unity tour with their legendary counterparts, the Pet Shop Boys.
It was the tail end of their concert tour, which had been postponed and rescheduled due to – you guessed it - the pandemic. It was sad, wonderful, and fitting for them to wrap up their Unity tour in our hometown.
My wife had shown some interest in the concert, mostly because of the headlining act of the Pet Shop Boys (interestingly due to their almost equal stature, the two bands would switch and flip headlining throughout the tour), and we both ended up attending and being utterly impressed with this concert. And it was easily one of the best concerts I have ever seen!
The “opening band” New Order used impressive visuals and fascinating bits of film throughout and although there were a few issues with voice and sound, their music was exceptional and outstanding, and they played everyone’s favorite tunes alongside all their classic hits.
But I remarked on two things that really touched me deep inside and shook me to the core. Previously, when listening to their wonderful music and watching some of their music videos, I noted how much love they managed to express and exude. It was deeply embedded and enmeshed with the music: it was certainly palpable in their choice and selection of sounds, and this also came through occasionally through their lyrics though not as predominantly.
Not only did one feel their love but their love for their art and craft was equally noticeable. We can often sense it when artists use their form of the medium not only to communicate messages but also to demonstrate and showcase their genuine love for and commitment to their chosen art form.
There are a handful of musicians I get that sense and feeling with, and the closest I would come would be the magnificent Beethoven whose chords are filled with love and appreciation. Although not on the same level, I must say New Order does come close, and at that concert, I had a few glimpses of God or a brief mystical union with the powers that be.
This may be an odd statement - and the last time I felt something similar at a concert was experiencing the Resurrection Symphony by Gustav Mahler - but there was no doubt that I felt this also during the performance of New Order. I had previously heard people say something of that ilk about witnessing a Pink Floyd concert while probably being under the influence of certain substances, but I felt it that night too, completely sober and with New Order.
This filled me with renewed hope not just for that moment but for many next moments to come. If there are enough people who can express their pure love in such an authentic way and passionate manner, the world will be a much better, brighter, and more inspiring place! I felt the warmth within my chest and wished the entire band the very best from the bottom of my heart for eliciting and awakening such feelings in the first place.
Interestingly, I doubt I was the only one that had felt this way about New Order. While my wife did not have that quasi-spiritual personal connection that I had (she did very much enjoy the ensuing act and music put on by the splendent, playful, colorful, engaging, and always youthful Pet Shop Boys – the Prokofievs of the music industry), right after the New Order set, I heard someone in the men’s washroom (of all places) exclaim to his friend “Amazing God bless!”
I could not have said it any better and concur and conclude with that statement because somehow or other this magical music band had the glue, substance, or secret ingredient that connects, and binds notes and sounds with the innermost recesses of our heart and our spiritual core.