Following their sold out debut concerts in January 2013 and a recently announced US tour for September, Peter Hook & The Light return to Buxton Opera House on Tuesday evening to perform the first two New Order albums, “Movement” (1981) and “Power, Corruption & Lies” (1983) for only the second time in the North West.
The Light previously performed “Unknown Pleasures” and “Closer” together in one concert at Buxton Opera House in February 2012, and the concert will follow the format of January’s sold-out Manchester Cathedral show, which received great critical acclaim.
Ahead of the Buxton gig, legendary bassist Hook reflects on the band’s iconic music:
You’re returning to Buxton for the second time. Looking forward to it?
Yes, Buxton is such a beautiful place. The reason I remember it so fondly is that I recorded the Freebass album there with Roger Lyons. Whenever I saw Buxton Opera House I thought that it looked like one of those wonderful old-fashioned theatres like you used to see in the good old days but I never thought I’d end up there.
You’ve moved recently from playing the Joy Division albums to the New Order album. Has this been a difficult process?
No, not really. I’ve become used to transcribing the songs quite faithfully. I suppose the difference with what we are doing as The Light is that we do it as they were recorded on the albums whereas the others seem to prefer to do new versions of tracks. As with the Joy Division album performances we’re staying very true to the record, and all the little tricks that Martin Hannett did on “Movement”, the last New Order album Martin produced.
How have the band coped with the change? What musical effects has it had?
“Movement” is a Joy Division album musically with New Order vocals so they have coped very well with that all the way through. It has been difficult to get used to playing to a backing track again because I’ve not done it for so long. It was something that I always resisted because I liked the freedom and expression of being fully live, but with the later New Order stuff there’s no getting round it. That’s been the hard thing really.
Does this mean that The Light are finished playing Joy Division?
No not at all. In a way I’ve confused it by doing everything. Every time we do a new album or something different like the “New Order Electronic Set”, which we’ve done at a couple of dance events recently, you just add it into your arsenal. At the moment I can play 75-plus songs. I’ve never been able to play that in my entire life, and that’s fantastic as there’s such a great variety of songs.
What are the major differences you find in playing Joy Division and New Order material?
There aren’t any really, the change is quite gradual so if you play “Movement” and then go into “Power, Corruption & Lies” it does make a lot of sense. With “Movement” being Joy Division musically with New Order lyrics, it really is a bridge and then when we arrive at “Power, Corruption & Lies” it does feel quite a natural development in the music.
You have said previously you are looking to play every song that you’ve ever written. Are you enjoying going back to the lesser known material?
Some of it is absolutely fantastic and I think as good as what you might call the commercial hits. I think some of it’s a lot better in truth. I think “Thieves Like Us” is a much better song than “Blue Monday”. I think when you look at songs like “Love Vigilantes”, “Leave Me Alone”, they’re actually better songs than what New Order picked for the singles. I see them all as one big collection and songs like “This Time Of Night”, “Ecstasy” or “Let’s Go”, there’s so many songs that we were ignoring as a group which to me was a great pity.
Has the reaction to the first New Order albums gigs in January, and the critical praise for your performance, been surprising to you?
I didn’t know what to expect but I think if you do things with the right attitude and the right enthusiasm then things can always go your way. I was very happy that the people that came seemed to enjoy it and so many were vocal about that afterwards, both from the press and also from friends and fans.
Peter Hook & The Light perform as part of Buxton Opera House’s Summer Pops Week 2013, featuring five nights of live music.
To purchase tickets, call 0845 127 2190 or visit www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk.