A moment’s silence, then, for New Order, whose split was officially confirmed today by a “relieved” Peter Hook , who claimed he “really hated carryin’ on as normal with an awful secret - let’s move on shall we?”
Well, let’s do that in a minute Hooky, as the Q Glastonbury Web Monkeys think that this is a bigger deal than the “shock” announcement of Tony Blair’s resignation (yawn) mere hours later. For the ‘Order (as no-one calls them) were Glastonbury legends, with three quality appearances under their belts, so we should pay our respects with some mild tittle tattle about each of them.
Their first was in 1981 at the all-new Glastonbury CND Festival, on the all-new big Pyramid Stage. Their former incarnation Joy Division had come to an abrupt halt a year before, with the suicide of singer Ian Curtis. Up until June 1981, the new line-up, now known as New Order, hadn’t played any gigs that much bigger than Northampton Roadmenders, so it was something of a surprise when they were plonked in the middle of a bill that featured such hardy Glastonbury perennials as Hawkwind and Roy Harper.
One can only speculate what the hippy contingent thought of such slabs of dark, industrial electronica as In A Lonely Place and Procession, but a climax featuring the sleek dancefloor vibe of Everything’s Gone Green pointed the way forward, and at least, as drummer Steve Morris remembered, singer Bernard Sumner pioneered the “horizontal guitar playing position” that night. Bravo!
Despite this inauspicious start, the relationship ‘twixt festival and post-punk dance pioneers continued with a storming headlining set in 1987. Kicking off with the ponderous instrumental Elegia, their performance included the first ever airing of True Faith, a bona fide pop classic. The song went down so well, footage of the show was included in the video when the single was released later that year. According to Hooky, they all stopped playing when the laser was switched on, in order to have a gawp at the spectacle. That demonstrates what a professional outfit this lot were.
NO’s last Glastonbury appearance was in 2005, an early Saturday evening slot for the trio of Sumner, Hook and Morris, who had returned after a hiatus of several years and several ill-advised solo projects.
Steve Morris had this to say to the Q team before their set, proving that he is The Funniest Man In Rock:
Throwing in some classic Joy Division songs such as Love Will Tear Us Apart and Transmission, this was the perfect antidote to the mud-fuelled mayhem that was threatening to engulf the festival-goers after the torrential downpour on the Friday. Only an appearance by showbiz nutter Keith Allen and a pantomime horse during a ragged take on their football “anthem” World In Motion threatened to take away any of the quiet dignity of this fine band.
We shall remember them that way. Do you have any similar memories of New Order at Glastonbury? Give us your comments...