mon 04/03/2024

New Order, OVO Hydro, Glasgow review - a nostalgia trip with a modern feel | reviews, news & interviews

New Order, OVO Hydro, Glasgow review - a nostalgia trip with a modern feel

New Order, OVO Hydro, Glasgow review - a nostalgia trip with a modern feel

The Manchester legends found their groove as the night went on.

New Order created a club vibe in their arena show

Early on in this arena gig by New Order, a youthful, enthusiastic voice could be heard to say gleefully, “They’re just so 80s!”. That statement was both accurate and yet also misleading, for as this near two-hour performance showcased New Order’s music is both of that decade and yet above it. 

Take the throbbing “Vanishing Point”, which swirled majestically for several minutes with a driving groove, lights shooting over the crowd. It was a hypnotic, rich tune to lose yourself in, and going by the number of flailing limbs that is exactly what the all ages crowd, from 80s clubbers to teenagers in retro band T-shirts, were doing.

That track came a couple of numbers after Bernard Sumner announced the band were going to play some of their dancier material, a mid-set announcement that also marked an improvement in the overall show. It’s not as if the songs before then were lacking rhythm, given the earworm bass of “Age of Consent” arrived early on, but a variable sound mix was restrictive.

An opening “Crystal” prioritised Tom Chapman’s bass over everything else, and Gillian Gilbert’s keyboards were occasionally submerged. It meant a track like “Academic” felt more like a straightforward rocker, bouncing around the Glasgow venue, than was ideal. At least on those moments you could occupy yourself by looking at the band, with Sumner still cutting shapes like an enthusiastic dad hitting the dancefloor at a wedding, and Gilbert a calmer, cooler presence.

Then there was Stephen Morris, who remains a dynamic drummer at the back. It was when the band stretched out more, and let the rhythm really flow, that it felt like they were drawing the crowd into the gig, as opposed to simply hammering away at them. The increasingly raved-up feel helped with that, from the relentless “Plastic” through to a glorious “Bizarre Love Triangle”, and paved the way for a selection of big hitters to close out the set, culminating in an encore of Joy Division material and a sing-a-long to “Love Will Tear Us Apart”.

That closing run did come with a caveat though. For all that these remain brilliant songs, there is something mildly depressing about such a creative band sliding into the nostalgia act category, rolling out the hits and the odd obscurity but nothing new. The most recent track was the three-year old “Be A Rebel” and a taste of something fresh would have been welcome.

Still, there remains creativity there, from a reworking of Joy Division’s “Isolation” to some adjustments to compensate for the effect of time on Sumner’s voice. He still sounded good, running through a revamped, slower “True Faith”, the ever mesmerising beat of “Blue Monday” and a terrific “Temptation” that melded the energy of a small, sweaty club with a football terrace chant. Much like the historical snapshots of Manchester streets that flashed up behind them, they capture their era, but with a vitality that ties them to the present as well.

For all that these remain brilliant songs, there is something mildly depressing about such a creative band sliding into the nostalgia act category

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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