London Finsbury Park, 9/6/2002
published: 11 /
Despite near storm conditions, and getting absolutely soaked, Olga Sladeckova reaches near "boiling point" with excitement at New Order's only outside concert of the year
Who in Britain can have missed all the adverts in music magazines such as Uncut, Q or NME stating that the Manchester band New Order were going to be playing London? And so off we go, all us New Order-Joy Division fans, to the outside makeshift location of Finsbury Park. Unfortunately the date matches perfectly with one of those rainy and showery days that London is notorious for.
The first rain appears right at 1 pm when the concert field officially opens. People naively thinking that they can manage to stay dry till the headlining band come on the stage, once they pass the entrance, gather under trees, squeeze under umbrellas, and wrap themselves in rain gear.
Stalls selling food from simple chips with chicken to more elaborate Indian and Italian menus also prove to be popular. The fans certainly do not avoid any of them. After that, you can visit a stall with doughnuts, or wake up an ice-cream man who due to bad weather has signed off and is now past his bedtime already. If you are a very fastidious customer you can visit a stall with ‘Jelly Vodka’. The idea of going to see New Order, however, and getting pissed on jelly doesn’t seem very appealing and that particular stall is rather lonely throughout the whole day.
The area in front of the stage gets busy around 5 when Echo And The Bunnymen hop on the stage and give their instruments a good spin. Even bigger excitement evokes with the next act Super Furry Animals and, during their nearly hour long set, the rain seems to be getting finely slower. I still can’t explain why, but after the Super Furies close their slot and pass over to a DJ, the audience thins out towards the doughnut stall and it literally becomes overloaded with orders.
Exactly at 6:29 comes one of the most important moments of the whole event happens. A huge applause and excitement drifts across the field when, for the first time of the day, the sun comes out.
This also announces the arrival of Air, the last supporting band. The smartly dressed group members approach their instruments and tune into the relaxed Sunday mood with their electronic sound. Unfortunately the excitement over the weather disappears 30 minutes later along with interest in the band as the heavy rain comes on again.
The very last rearranging of instruments comes at around 7:45. New Order are coming up the next. No matter how wet, dirty or drunk fans are, there is no difference between them. They jump up and down shouting "new Order". They don’t have to wait any longer. It’s 8:10 and New Order arrive on the stage.
“Hello!” says lead singer and guitarist, Bernard Sumner, in greeting and then profusely apologizes for the rain, adding how lucky we are to be out on the field as it’s much worse backstage. The fans greet his comment with sour disagreement and shout at the band to start playing. "The first song is so predictable" admits Bernard and the band kick off their Sunday match with ‘Crystal’, the fist track from their latest album ‘Get Ready’.
What really gets people dancing is, however, the second song, the Joy Division classic ‘Transmission’. " Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance to the radio!" people sing in one voice while moving in every possible direction, as Peter Hook teases his bass guitar into giving its best possible performance.
Another beer shower hits the spot my friend and I are standing, but we are loosing count now and are speeding along with ’60 Miles An Hour’, another track from ‘Get Ready. "I don’t know if I told you but I’m seeking sanctuary/You never guess things that I do/I have a devil round for tea' people sing with toal conviction.
Half way through the set the sound starts playing up and the band has to tune their instruments in between songs. "We are getting very professional those days" jokes Bernard.
Huge excitement is evoked by Joy Division's Atmosphere'. That track also brings out the best characteristics in fans' behavior. A drunk man in front me all of the sudden starts spitting beer over people in front of him.
The following songs include ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’, True Faith’ and Temptation’.
The musicians seem exhausted and no wonder after more then an hour of singing and playing, with the audience jumping and dancing around. Bernard announces the last number ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, a song that has been written into history as perhaps one of the greatest of all Joy Division hits. The song meets with excitement equal to its quality , but that's it. The band says goodbye and leave the stage.
No way! "New Order, New Order, New Order...!" The soaked and muddy fans assertively demand the return of their rock ‘n’ roll heroes. The band soon realize that they won’t get away with it, but quite happily come back on the stage to a big round of applause and restart the concert with ‘Digital’.
For the second bonus song, the fans are given the chance to choose either ‘Blue Monday’ or ‘Rock The Shack’. Everybody is going mad shouting their favorite. "One at a time!" Bernard orders, but ‘Blue Monday’ supporters are definitely dominant and soon that song is rocking the stage.
New Order would not be from England if they didn’t make any comments about the current World Cup , and what other way could there be than treating all their fans to ‘World In Emotion’, their official England World Cup song from 1990 ?
The atmosphere is reaching ‘boiling’ point. ‘England’ everybody shouts enthusiastically along to the rhythm of the song. To be honest I did felt a bit left out, coming from the Czech republic, but in that kind of atmosphere it certainly didn’t really matter.
It’s nearly 10 and the band announces ‘Your Silent Face’, the last song. We let ourselves gently swing along with its slow tune and wish the end would never come As the song finishes, New Order wishes the audience goodbye again. We award them deservedly with a big round of applause and they disappear into the darkness of backstage.
So this is really it. It’s been nearly 2 months since the band first announced Finsbury Park show, but now it is all over. People move through the mud towards Finsbury Park tube station and bus stops, chatting away and sharing their experience.
It took 2 years for New Order to recover, after they organised a similar concert at London’s Alexandra Palace. Let’s hope it won’t take another 2 years before we meet them again.
60 Miles an Hour
She's Lost Control
Bizarre Love Triangle
Love Will Tear Us Apart
World in Motion
Your Silent Face
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