The crowds made their way down to the Fira early on Saturday evening to see one of the most influential bands of the Eighties—New Order. Despite many people still feeling the effects of the previous night’s antics, the energy in SónarHall was incredible. It would take a lot more than an early show and bit of bad weather to dampen the spirits of the fans.
The combination of Sónar’s impeccable sound system with a live act like New Order was sure to make for a musical performance of unprecedented quality. New Order’s current lineup consists of: Bernard Sumner, vocals, guitars, keyboards; Gillian Gilbert, keyboards; Stephen Morris, drums and programming; Phil Cunningham, guitars; and, replacing Peter Hook, Tom Chapman on bass. The songs of New Order come with a wave of nostalgia, their 1987 record, Substance has been the soundtrack to the teenage years of many a music fanatic since it’s release. Having just released their latest album, Complete Music (2015), the set list consisted of a repertoire of new and old songs all representing the classic New Order sound.
Their performance of ‘Crystal’ from their 2001 album, Get Ready, was a reminder of the consistency of the band's sound. Followed by ‘Restless’, released last year in promotion of their latest album, the lyrics focus on the power of materialism in today's culture, their music still contains messages that appeal to multiple generations. Supported visually by the music video, a dramatic portrayal of the story of King Arthur mixed with modern day hedonism and over-indulgence. A clear message of greed being sent to the world in the lyrics, ‘How much do you need?’
Nostalgia kicked in as the powerful bassline to ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ filled the hall. It was the start of a run of some of New Order’s finest material. Followed by ‘Waiting for the Sirens’ Call’, a great example of New Order’s ability to produce mournful pop, the performance was both energetic and melancholy at the same time.
Sandwiched in the middle of their medley of past gems was ‘Plastic’, released last year from their new album, it harks back to the original New Order sound with precise drum beats, synth riffs, an upbeat tempo and thought-provoking lyrics.
As the end grew nearer, we were left guessing what they would whip out for the grand finale. ‘True Faith’ and ‘Temptation’ already made the crowd feel spoilt. As always at Barcelona festivals, it was unclear whether the encore would happen, a pretty disconcerting feeling for all music fans. There was a sense that the crowd had a lot more left to give, even if it meant missing DJ EZ. Our wish was granted, as the band came back out on stage. The unmistakable synth riff of ‘Blue Monday’ sent the crowd into a frenzy and they had every soul in SónarHall moving. Although it’s the sort of song we’ve probably all heard and danced to a billion times, nothing compares to the feeling of hearing it live.
As images of Ian Curtis flashed on the the screen, the guitar riff of Joy Division’s ‘Love will tear us apart’ sent shrills through spines. It was something special, concreting itself as the best show of the weekend and as well as taking top position as the concert of a lifetime for many. The acts to follow had a lot to live up to.