Live at Manchester Apollo
It's been chucking it down for days now, so I thought I'd take refuge in the Manchester Apollo and take in childhood heroes New Order. Little did I know of the troubles I'd get myself into.
The line up of course is different now, with the well publicised problems and spats etc. but the tunes remain the same, and when all said and done, that's what I grew up on through my adolescence and school after first getting in into Joy Division. The problem I have is, do they still sound the same without certain members? Arriving early, I made my way down to the pit, which later became quite clearly a bit of a shambles.
The place itself is really quite cool. Built in 1938 as a cinema it tonight plays host to 3,500 adoring New Order fans. There were Two supports on beforehand, firstly a great young act Hot Vestry, a new wave-ish punk band from Macclesfield and, Factory floor, a mediocre lot from London. As Barney and the crew made their way on to the stage, the hall erupted. This was the second night of two sell-outs. . The line up now consists of former member Gillian Gilbert, keyboardist/ guitarist, her replacement while she was away, Phil Cunningham, continues on guitar joined by fellow Bad Lieutenant bassist Tom Chapman replacing Hooky on bass.
If my memory serves me well they started with 'Eligia' and drifted into 'Crystal'. From the pit, you understand my mind is completely taken up with the urgency to get the shots in so please excuse the fogginess of my recollections. To be honest, that turned out to be the least of my problems tonight. I must admit the start doesn't sound too good from where I'm standing but it's obvious the crowd don't think the same as they jump up and down in a frenzy as I think it was 'Regret' that followed. I do remember the last one before we were ejected from the pit. The sound getting a lot better as they blasted 'Ceremony' my all time favourite New Order track out in to the throng. I didn't get many shots in to be fair during this period, because I'm afraid ( if anyone else was there ) yes, it was me, the dancing cameraman. Now then, as a camera bod you only get 3 tracks to get your shots then you are asked to leave but for some reason we were treated to 4 tonight before I vacated the pit.
It was then that my troubles began. Whilst listening to the sound that has got noticeably better and checking the quality of my shots from the back of my camera I received an untimely tap on the shoulder and was escorted to the nearest 'way out' by a rather nice old boy and a complete Neanderthal. the problem seemed to be the fact that all the other photographers had done an Elvis and left the building as was the protocol at the Apollo, and I was still there. After producing my guest list ticket provided by the lovely Jayne at Excess they then made the excuse that I was taking shots from the crowd. To cut a long story short, after a lot of walky talkying and brilliant diffusing from the old boy and huge amount of boisterous, threatening antics from our customer relations lacking power starved caveman I was let out just in time to catch the end of the act. If anyone wants to fill me in with the bits i'd missed please do.
In my absence the sound had got wonderfully better. It was now that, after making my way to the back of the room that I could take in the sound and laser show we were treated to. I got in place just as they gave us a rendition of '586'.' The Perfect Kiss' followed and the place was now rocking as they raced into 'blue Monday'. I'm still thinking at this stage that there's something missing or was it the big screen behind which was showing the official video that went with each song that seemed for some reason to be distracting me from the main reason I was there. It also has to be said at this point that the Bass WAS different.
We were treated to another personal fave 'Temptation' before the hairs were to stand on end for the encore. They'd gone from the stage for what seemed like an era and when they finally got back I couldn't believe my ears as the intro filled the room. 'Transmission' wafted its way across the still packed theatre. The crowd were sent into raptures as the finale kicked off and we all roared back to the stage the lyrics to 'Love will tear us apart' in, if not the most harmonious but the most unified ending.
It's still raining outside as I trudge my way back to the car humming and whispering the last song to myself as I went. With or without the original bassist, I had decided, I'd still go and see them again, and I'll still be buying the next record.
Oh, and I'll be putting my camera away straight after leaving the pit!!
Rating out of 10