This is a touch redundant if you saw my Instagram yesterday but today, Peter Hook & The Light are releasing a triple-CD set of their July 2022 show at the Apollo O2 in Manchester. That was was the hometown date for their current “Joy Division – A Celebration” tour, which finds Hook and company performing both Joy Division albums in their entirety, plus a selection of non-album songs, plus a short set of New Order songs.
I never really got the chance to see the original lineup of New Order live – their last local show was in July 1993, and though I was finally able to cross them off the bucket list with their August 2018 show at Budweiser Stage, it felt like there should have been an asterisk beside it because Hook had left the band a decade earlier. And yet when he started touring on his own, performing complete Joy Division and New Order albums, I skipped out on those because I thought they would only be pale imitations and I let my snobbery keep me at home.
Thankfully I got over that in time for the kick-off of the North American leg of the “Joy Division: A Celebration” tour, which started with two nights in Toronto at the Danforth a fortnight ago. I went to the second night and was quite honestly blown away. The opening set of late-era New Order material was wonderful (I will never not love hearing “Regret”), and hearing the Joy Division material live – well I never really thought about how fully half their discography was never performed live, and so to hear it done by one of the people who wrote it and whose heart and soul is part of it, it was special and epic. And for anyone wondering – because I certainly did – Hook can indeed sing. And whatever parts he can’t cover, guitarist David Potts – who played with Hook in ’90s project Monaco – more than handles. So if you live anywhere near the remaining dates and are on the fence… get off and go.
Hook did an extensive interview with The Big Takeover earlier this year, talking about putting together the “Celebration” tour as well as the early punk scene in Manchester:
How did you decide to perform both Joy Division albums at these North American shows?
PETER HOOK: I don’t think we’ve done both [albums] there, [but] we’ve done the two albums separately in America. We did get in the habit in England of doing two, and it’s become very much our bag, doing the albums. I’m not trying to impersonate Joy Division – I’m celebrating it. Well, it’d be impossible to impersonate Joy Division. I know that New Order do a good job of impersonating New Order, in my opinion. It was very true in Joy Division’s story that most people had never heard the band, because we never got out of England apart from a couple of trips to Europe. So it was actually wonderful for me, after being very critical of the LPs in my youth, to revisit them.Interview: Peter Hook (of Peter Hook & the Light, New Order, and Joy Division) @ The Big Takeover
But back to the Celebration release: last week, the band released a video of the show closer – no points for guessing what it is – and I think it does a good job of capturing the energy and magic that these shows are able to conjure.