The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, August 7, 1985 - Page 9
New Order and Ohio
mix like oil and water
By Richard Williams
T OFTEN WONDER why I sucker
myself into these things. I must be
a gambling man. I knew New Order.
was to do a U.S. tour in the latter part
of this summer and naturally I waited
for the gig to be booked at St. An-
drew's Hall or the Royal Oak Music
But word got around last week that
New Order was bypassing Detroit and
that the closest gig was in Akron,
Ohio. I thought to myself, "Why the
hell in Akron?" And I thought to
Iyself again, "True, they are the
est live band I've ever seen, but hey
I've seen them twice and so screw
them if they don't want to come to
But then I thought to myself yet
again, "Remember the Joy
Division/New Order legacy. Remem-
ber how every word Ian Curtis
whispered made you think. Remem-
ber Peter Hook's throbbing basslines.
Remember Bernard Dickens magical
uitar grindings. Remember that this
is real soul music, although made by
white people. Remember, we're
talking legends." After this conver-
sation with myself I came to my sen-
It looked good. This week was my
week off and I could afford to road
trip to glorious Akron. So I reserved
some tickets, a friend to go along with
and a full tank of gas in her mother's
car. (Thanks, Mrs. Pope). We was
ready to roll to the tire capital of the
orld. Ah, the things you do for
So we hit the open road in mid-
afternoon because we had to get there
by 7 p.m. to reserve our tickets 'cause
the show started at 8. Mind you, this is
a nightclub. It's been three years sin-
ce I've been in Ohio (thankfully) and
now I remember how weird it is.
Home of those nasty Buckeyes.
Yeecch! You have to pay to use their
biggest highway. In Ohio, they don't
Pave "rest areas," they have "ser-
vice plazas" where you can fill up on
gas and HoJo fried clams, go potty,
look at a map while you're waiting for
your female companion to come out of
All this and the rain didn't ex-
tinguish our enthusiasm 'cause after
all it was a blue Monday and we were
going to see the legendary New Or-
der. We got off the turnpike after 120
miles, a fruitless search for good
adio stations, and no scenery, just
kutside of Akron. It cost us $2.30 to
use itand that was only one way!
We figured the Agora was actually
in the city and would just get direc-
tions from a gas station. But as we
were about halfway to Akron on
Route 8 we saw this place that looked
like either a bewling alley or a roller
rink - it said on it "The Agora
Ballroom." We freaked! What a
dump! And it wasn't even in Akron, it
eas in Northhampton. Man, this was
a blue Monday, indeed.
The inside was one big square and
there was no lobby to escape the
music. It was mostly black with dim
red lighting. The dancefloor wasn't as
big as St. Andrew's, but there was lots
of seating. It was real art-deco from
the mid-'70s - just a rock'n'roll disco
On the walls were the logos of
numerous bands like Rush, Journey,
and hometown boys, Devo ... eh, you
get the picture.
I'm sorry Ohioans, but this was
severe culture shock. At this point, I
could imagine New Order in their tour
bus as they pulled up say~ng to the
driver, "What's the deal mate, are we
gonna bowl a coupla frames before
I realized this gig was going to be a
letdown. New Order had spoiled me. I
had seem them play two inspired
shows in the past. Knowing them,
there was no way they could get in-
spired for this one.
Fellow Factory labelmates, A Cer-
tain Ratio, opened and they were dull.
They make a rough brand of white
boy funk that is often too jazzy. They
don't have a compelling sound or any
personality to boot.
New Order came on around ten.
Bernard looked at the song list and
mumbled, "This is called 'Blue Mon-
day.' " Fitting. And as I called it,
.uninspired. You could tell from the
outset that they weren't pleased at
being booked there. Somewhere along
the line management blew this one.
And we were allpaying for it.
They did fine renditions of two of
their better live songs, "Dreams
Never End" from their first and best
LP and "Everything's Gone Green,"
their best 12" single, followed by the
perfectly bland "Lonesome Tonight,"
the B-side of the "Thieves Like Us"
12". Strange choice.
Next, the band went through the
motions on "This Time At Night" and
"Sub-Culture" from the new LP. A
new song that featured only guitars
and drums proved to be a nice change
of pace. Next was "Face-up" and
"Sunrise," two of the best tracks on
the new LP. During the former Ber-
nard improvised the lyrics and said,
It's so boring playing live/In such
Throughout the show they were
sarcastic (they have a documented
history of that), mumbling things in
their thick accents that were too hard
to figure out. They had a right to be
upset but ...
The band finished surprisingly with
"In a Lonely Place" (pun intended),
the B-side of their first single that was
rumored to have been recorded
before Ian Curtis committed suicide.
It was the highlight of the show and
then they left. A good part of the
audience was obnoxious throughout,
acting as if it was a hardcore show
and of course they were upset over
the short, 10 song, 45 minute set. But I
have a suggestion for everyone: Don't
time shows. You'll enjoy them more.
Actually, New Order was good, they
just didn't live up to my previous ex-
pectations. It's too bad they had to be
booked at the Agora. How about
Detroit or Ann Arbor next time?
Pee-Wee Herman takes on his first starring role in what he has described
as a "quest" film, 'Pee-Wee's Big Adventure.' Tim Burton directs the
search for Pee-Wee's stolen super souped-up bike, and stuff, which opens
soon in the Ann Arbor area.
sva mzsiava aa
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