As headliners, they had one great advantage over other acts on the bill: they got to play as darkness descended, affording them the natural atmospherics their music cries out for.
Bernard Sumner is never the most charismatic of frontmen. He says little, and even then can barely be understood. Now and then he divests himself of his guitar and shuffles awkwardly about the mic, but that’s as far as his stage craft goes.
Peter Hook, slouching about with his low-slung bass, was always Sumner’ss natural foil on stage, and his absence only serves to point up Sumner’s shortcomings all the more (these days, Hookie fronts a band called The Light, playing Joy Division’s first album Unknown Pleasures in its entirety).
But Sumner & Co delivered their set with the grace and professionalism one always associates with New Order.
They opened with Elegia, Crystal and Regret. After 30 years in and out of the studio, they have no shortage of material to choose from, and Age of Consent and True Faith also got stirring outings.
The crowd were with them from the start, but all the more so when they launched into that strangest of pop singles, ‘Blue Monday’, an epic slice of electro-trance perfection that seems entirely ageless.
They followed that with the utterly irresistible ‘Temptation’, before closing with another crowd-pleaser, Joy Division’s paean to doomed love, ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’.