Peter Hook & The Light: Substance Tour 2016 @ Urban Lounge 11.07
Dear Diary, I had the most fantastic night! Really, though. This past Monday, Peter Hook put on what was quite possibly the best show I’ve ever attended (and will attend). Though I couldn’t have been more excited for the show, being Hooky’s number one fan and all, I somewhat feared that Urban Lounge would to be filled with Unknown Pleasures–T-shirt-wearing fans screaming, “Play ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart.’” Not to say that there’s anything wrong with that—I just think New Order and Joy Division have far better tracks (as does Hooky). Anyway, as I approached the line, I quickly saw that I was actually one of the younger lads in the crowd. Yet, I quickly fit in, as two older gentlemen instantly asked whether or not I had one extra ticket to sell—I did. I gave my fellow fan the ticket free of charge, and we headed into the joint. It was then time to stand and wait anxiously, as I’m always inclined to do.
Ever punctual, I counted down the minutes to 8 p.m., thinking Peter Hook & the Light would take stage right then—for some reason. Around 8:15, we heard what initially sounded like an ’80s synth–style lead-in to welcome the band, though that quickly changed when an operatic voice came over, only to end as The Light, and then Hooky, took the stage. The crowd went wild, and he quickly dove right into a personal favorite, “Lonesome Tonight.” The sound was incredible and, to my surprise, his voice was pretty fuckin’ good. You see, I’ve been YouTubing Hooky for years and, in the beginning, it was quite low and raspy. My, how things have changed. He sang a bit higher (for New Order at least) and was totally hitting the melodies. I’ll tell you though, his guitarist gave ol’ Bernard Sumner a run for his money.
As for the music and track selection, I couldn’t have been given a better show. Though they’re technically compilation albums, both Substance albums (from Joy Division and New Order) feature all my favorites—all of which he played. I’m talking “Procession,” “Cries & Whispers” and “Everything’s Gone Green”—I’ll get to Joy Division later. Mix that in with some serious singles/crowd favorites like “Blue Monday” and “Bizarre Love Triangle,” and you’ve got quite the show. Apparently a long show, too. Not that I ever wanted it to end, but I found myself thinking, “This has got to be the last song of the set,” for the last four songs. When the magic did end, Hooky and his band stepped off for about 10 to 15 minutes before they stepped right back out for the Joy Division Substance set. Damn, do they have some stamina.
I once read in Hooky’s Joy Division book that the band would start their sets with “Dead Souls” to get a feel for the crowd, given the extended intro before the vocals come in. Similarly, I’ve always thought “No Love Lost” could have done the job as well. Oddly enough, that’s exactly how the Joy Division set started. No surprises by this point: He nailed the vocals, originally sung by the late Ian Curtis, and did them justice, too. From there, he again played the perfect mix of my personal favorites and those of the crowd. As for mine, “Novelty” and “These Days” have always made the list, whereas “Transmission” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart” typically top that of others. But don’t get me wrong: They’re all fucking great songs—I’m no “deep tracks only” prude. Moving forward, the latter of the two previously mentioned tracks closed out the show, and I think it’s safe to say that everyone in Urban that night went home happy—and mind-blown, for that matter.
To reiterate my thoughts at the beginning of this thing, I’ll say this: best show ever. If you’re a New Order and Joy Division fan, skip the remaining members’ fake shit and go see Peter Hook & the Light. It’s raw. It’s amazing. It’s the real deal. Thank you, Peter Hook—from your No. 1 fan.