New Order: Birmingham Ballroom. Gig 20: 29 April 2012: Now the was a gig that had been looked forward to for sometime 3 members of New Order (Hooky absent) were coming to Brum, I had never seen them and was pretty excited. The gig passed Mrs P's criteria of 'not being a crappy band I've never heard of' and she was in (in fact she found out about the gig and told me to book it) and 2 of the pub quiz team were coming too (much to the disgust of our remaining pub quiz member, whose more of a 70's than an 80's man when it comes to music - his explanation, who had to valiantly battle on on his own).
We got into town, in the pouring rain, and into the Ball Room (nee Carling Academy, nee Hummingbird, all redone and worst of all, the sticky carpet has been replaced!!!!!). We got there just as the support came on and it was absolutely rammed, New Order are probably the biggest band to have hit this venue for years and years, and it was rammed with blokes. To be honest blokes and blokes and blokes and blokes and baldy blokes....and the Missus.
Support band Jake Evans was pretty good, normal indie rock, backed with a big banner shouting simply www.jakeevansmusic.com - not too inspiring but at least it meant that in between each song I was not willing him to explain who the band were and wondering if I had misheard him which happens with a lot of other support bands. The subliminal advertising did work as I have visited the website and downloaded the free tune. Turns out he was in Bad Lieutenant and so I presume that this was Bernie's helping hand now he had left that band for the time being.
Couple more beers had by all and we worked our way to somewhere that the shorties could see, which was at the back by the merchandise stall, which worked sensibly enough, whilst not being the greatest of vantage points as can be seen by the photo. Plus it did pose the problem that the Ballroom has always had, if you are under the balcony the sound quality is radically reduced.
On came New Order, who despite their size (tiny tiny specs) and the sound quality, did not disappoint. The crowd welcomed them on and they started off with Crystal, a blistering recent song that I absolutely love (or thought I did). Whilst it is a brilliant song, its on the ipod, it has 5 stars, next to the likes of True Faith, Blue Monday or the encore Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart it is just fine! I hadn't realised at all how brilliant those songs are, its only when you see them live that they really knock you sideways.
The crowd lapped up the performance, each song cheered on, big screen films, lazer effects, drum machines....welcome to the eighties, and its telling that even being that far back, with the pillar box view of the band, with crap sound, it was still an experience and a half.
Was particularly impressed to have guessed the encore before it happened, and a little disappointed not to have had the World Cup song world in motion (but how do you replace John Barnes' rap).