Monday, November 15, 2010

New Order, PiL, Sugarcubes: July 1, 1989


Rachel, Bonnie, and Rachel outside the show, '80s alt fashions on proud display.

The first thing I recall about this show is that it was rescheduled, so the date on the ticket is probably incorrect. We were actually almost to the parking lot of the venue by the time they announced the show was canceled; someone in the band (I think Peter Hook) had fallen ill. In retrospect, I think the show would have been just fine without him. I read one of the meanest, funniest, and truest reviews of this tour a few weeks after our show. It began, "No wonder Ian Curtis hanged himself."

I was a fan of all three bands on the bill so I figured it would be great. The Sugarcubes were still riding high on their amazing debut album but had just recorded the follow-up, so we got a taste of it, too. Bjork has always had a fantastic voice and she is just as dazzling live as on record. She was wearing platform sneakers and a clingy silver dress, this being the start of her "deranged club-hopper baby doll" fashion period. The Sugarcubes were good but Public Image were even better - tighter, more confident, with better songs. They  were supporting their album 9 at the time.

So it was a good day, the excitement had been building, dusk had come, and New Order took the stage. They stood there and did a song that sounded just like the record. They stood there and did another song that sounded just like the record. And so on. Lather, rinse, repeat. The highlight of the show was when John Lydon, clearly bored and annoyed out of his mind, came back onstage and shook his butt mockingly in the band's direction. It was hilarious and the crowd ate it up, but Bernard Sumner was absolutely shooting daggers from his eyes. It was brilliant. And then New Order stood there and did another song that sounded just like the record. We left before the encore and could hear the strains of "Blue Monday" as we were driving away. I was sort of sad to miss it, but then I realized I could put on the record, stare at a picture of the band, and get the same effect.

8 comments:

  1. i was at a few shows on this tour in the
    nyc - phillie area. fond memories...

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  3. I was there too. Shoreline Amphitheater

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  4. I was at the Boston Show -Great Woods an outdoor venue. The Sugarcubes were amazing. However, Einar was complaining that not enough people were there on time!Bjork didn't disappoint. She sang some songs in Icelandic- crowd went wild! PIL was very good and New Order was a snooze fest. I think we also left after 6 songs.

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  5. I saw this show at Merriweather post in MD. I am going there this Sunday to see New Order again. Ahhhh nostalgia.

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  6. I'm at work formatting a damn spreadsheet and was thinking about this concert. So glad you wrote this. I saw this show at Irvine Meadows in California. My friends and I also left before New Order completed their set. But I think it was most likely because my friends Dad was sitting in his car the entire day waiting to drive us home. I think I was only a sophmore in high school. Absolutely loved Sugarcubes and PIL that day. Lydon tore up the stage! Such a great show. New Order was definitely a little boring. Thanks again for posting this.

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  7. I caught this show two days prior, June 29, 1989. It was Summerfest in Milwaukee, the hometown of the Violent Femmes. They were the fourth band on the bill that night, making this one of the most memorable shows of my life. I was in the middle of college and loved all these bands. I'm just now remembering how I was among a minority of Sugarcubes fans who cheered, danced and sang along to their whole set. (I still love their music) Milwaukee showed much more enthusiasm for PIL and Johnny Lydon, who had the crowd on fire. But the true stars of the night were Milwaukee's darling Violent Femmes, who were warmly met with the audience singing along to their whole set. This spirit carried over to New Order, who played a killer set. If they sounded exactly like their records, I didn't care. I danced so hard that I couldn't walk back to the car afterward without the help of my friends. AWESOME.

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  8. Was it at the Mann Music Center in Philly? I was there, but it was a long summer.

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