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  The Gorge, Friday August 3rd, 2001

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Review of New Order @ The Gorge, Friday August 3rd, 2001 by Robert Roy

This was my 5th time seeing New Order live, and this would prove to be the best concert yet, even better than the previous night in Vancouver. It was a five hour drive from Vancouver, (including a one hour delay at the border crossing) but luckily we made it on time. As Brian said in his review, I can't say enough about the venue ? an absolutely beautiful setting. On this arid plateau just east of the Cascades, the Columbia River carves a deep canyon as it searches for a way to the ocean. In this isolated spot (about a 90 minute drive from Seattle), the eroded canyon walls form a perfect natural half-bowl amphitheatre. With the Columbia River Gorge as a backdrop, it is truly an amazing setting.

My girlfriend and I went down to floor level to secure a place close up as soon as Roots were finished their set. We found ourselves directly in front of Hooky's mic stand, perhaps only 10 feet from stage. In front of us were four or five rows of non-New Order fans who weren't budging, I guess trying to hold their spot for Outkast or Moby. On either side and behind us, we were surrounded by many New Order fans (nice meeting you Brian!). The sense of anticipation mounted as we waited for New Order to come on. In front of us and a bit to our left, the sun was starting to set.

The excitement and energy built until finally, at about 7:20 p.m., they walked on stage. Barney said "Guess who we are?" and they launched into Atmosphere. Beautiful prelude, fantastic sound. Next came Regret, and the crowd went nuts. An absolutely thrilling, spine tingling moment. The sound was excellent. Barney seemed relaxed and comfortable, as he did the night before. Hooky seemed a little surely (grouchy), perhaps still feeling the effects of the flu. But as always, he gave an amazing performance, with his low-slung bass attack, brandishing his big black 4-string like a weapon.

Next came Crystal, and this was also excellent. I think they played a longer version this night, which I thought was great. It comes across great live, much better than the "Real Player" version on the net. Barney sang it with great energy, and the unmistakable Hooky bass line is awesome. Great crowd response considering it has not even been released yet. With a little luck, it will be their next "Regret".

Barney introduced the next song as "an old Joy Division song we haven't played in a while.", then added with a wry smile ".24 hours" and launched into Love Will Tear Us Apart. Also fantastic. Plagued by a bit of feedback however. After the song, Barney recognized someone at the front of the crowd from back home, and said "Dave, you've come a long way! Let's hear it for Manchester United!"

Next came "You Silent Face", a great old New Order classic that is probably somewhat obscure for the casual fan of today, but it went it over great! When Barney started playing the Melodica (an instrument like a harmonica with a keyboard), the crowd roared their approval. Fantastic moment, beautiful song. I think it was during this song that Hooky was having some technical problem with his 6 string bass. (Not sure of the song, but I know it was the 6 string). He and his tech were fiddling with the dials on his amp at one point. I think he needed higher tone for this song, but it still sounded great.

Next was Turn My Way, with Barney introducing Billy Corgan on vocals. Again, I don't think the harmony works between Billy and Barney, but maybe it will grow on me with time. It was only my second listen after all.

Next came BLT, Barney was in fine form, dancing and grimacing, having fun. Jumped into a verse too early and blanked a chorus, but they were able to keep it together and pick it up again on the next verse.

Next came TBTHOG, not a huge favorite of mine, but still nice. Barney sung this one with huge intense energy in Vancouver , but this time just the usual way. Sang one verse a bit out of place, but this was probably not noticed by the casual observer. After the song, Barney looked around at the gorgeous venue, looked at the beautiful setting sun behind him, and said appreciatively, "Nice place you have here. But where is Seattle? Which direction?" Fans pointed behind him, westward, "Oh, over there." Barney was also obviously impressed by the vast empty landscape.

Next came True Faith, same housey keyboard intro as the Reading version . Definite high point, especially since this song was omitted in Vancouver. Hooky growled "Here we go!" as he launched into the bass solo. Amazing!

Next, Barney switched from his gold hollow-body guitar to a red solid-body guitar, saying "I need my bad-ass guitar for this song" and launched into Temptation, my favorite New Order song. Beautiful, the high point of the concert. Interestingly, Barney played a slightly different intro. In the Reading version, he slides his pick up and down the neck of the guitar for a little sound effect intro, whereas this time, he did some other type of effect involving picked out a notes instead.

Next, Barney introduced a new song, saying something like "a good song to drive yourself to suicide" or something like that, and played "60 mph". Again, sounds great, just like the Vancouver show. This song should do well.

Finally, came Blue Monday. Barney said facetiously, "I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do", obviously tired of playing it. Oh well, still sounded great. Jumped into "I thought I told you to meet me" too early, sang it twice and recovered. Hooky was looking especially surely by now, slamming the drum machine extra hard. At the end, he dropped his 6-string face down on stage (ouch) and tossed his drumsticks into the crowd. (Doesn't he need that bass for the next show?).

Overall, superb show. The venue was amazing, and the crowd response was great. Musically I thought the Vancouver show was slightly better, but the overall vibe was better at the Gorge. Barney seemed completely at ease and in peak form at the Vancouver show. For the Gorge, they were perhaps distracted by a few technical glitches. Barney seems to enjoy not being the center of attention, and perhaps was more comfortable in Vancouver with a crowd of 15,000 rather than 35,000 people. In Vancouver, the crowd was very polite and receptive, but more obviously there for Outkast and Moby.

Set list:
1. Atmosphere
2. Regret
3. Crystal
4. LWTUA
5. Your Silent face
6. Turn My Way
7. BLT
8. TBTHOG
9. True Faith
10. Temptation
11. 60 MPH
12. Blue Monday

 

 

 

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