NO: 23 APR 1983 Aula Maxima College, University - Galway, Ireland
Your Silent Face, Dreams Never End, Chosen Time, Hurt, In A Lonely Place, Ultraviolence, The Village, Denial, Blue Monday [encore] Temptation, Lonesome Tonight, Sister Ray
The Village, Denial, Blue Monday, Hurt
Photos courtesy of Dec Hickey / From Heaven to Heaven, New Order Live, The Early Years (1981-1984) at Close Quarters
New Order OTD 1983: Aula Maxima, University College, Galway, Ireland. Annoyed with the spitting on this tour, New Order took a wine bottle of bodily fluids etc on stage and poured it into the mouth of the worst offender - who accepted thinking it was wine ... See Substance book
What Substance fails to disclose is that the Galway audience were far too sage to seriously consider the offering, so no such pouring took place.
The following extract of the proceedings appears in From Heaven To Heaven,
pp. 134-135 (maroon edition), and is shared by permission of its author. His book I've always regarded as a required purchase for anyone who considers themselves a devoted Joy Division / New Order
fan, and hope that one day it comes back in print.
My soundcheck tape starts with a great chugging 40 seconds of Hooky's bass that certainly never made any New Order song. Too brutal for that, it sounds great. And a minute later there's guitar that's... too funky for a New Order song. Must be in a playful mood today. With hints from a couple of members on stage, a short, instrumental chunk of The Village is up next before a vocal and fairly complete version of the track plays out, and although Barney mislays a lyric or two it still brings home how much his voice suits the song. We then cut to Hooky who's got more important things on his mind, as he moans to whoever, "The swimming pool is shut at six and you're fookin' moanin’.
Next up is more playfulness, as a ten second burst of note-bending guitar and keys in total harmony converge to sound like a late '70s US soul rock band. Maybe Steve Millers' 'Fly Like An Eagle' will be cropping up later. "Right, try another one," Ozzy suggests. He's had enough of this... and so has Steve, as he pummels the intro to 'Little Dead' / Denial and a full take bursts upon us. Barney tests his vocals over an octave or two and manages to hang onto the last 'Inside my soul' longer possibly than any New Order lyric before or after, and for me it's a rare version of the song that wouldn't be close to vital.
My cousin Tom then makes it back from town and just in time to catch a solid version of Blue Monday. Next up is Rob, obviously feeling left out, as he performs his own "one, two, one two" soundcheck into my mic. A short instrumental take of 'Cramp'/ Hurt and then a few 'I'll see yoooo later's thrown around by Ozzy and Hooky in the silence that follows convinces all involved that we're now set for the evening.
Whatever New Order's profile in the UK, Europe and the States, outside of Dublin it hasn't quite transferred to the rest of the Republic of Ireland. Around the late '70s/early '80s I remember buying the New Musical Express in Ireland (that's when could find it) and the import tax on a copy was massive, so even though Dave Fanning, Hot Press and whoever have been doing their bit here, it is still an uphill struggle for indie and new music, and by the time our lads and lassie arrive on stage I reckon there's about 300 in the hall. It's evident fairly quickly that Barney, at least, is in a relaxed mood. As they ease into 'KW1' / Your Silent Face, he inserts, early on, an army sergeant-like "one-two-three-four!" for no particular reason. The intro to Dreams Never End brings some applause, before the song noticeably shifts a gear, speed-wise, to a more leisurely pace. Unusual. And the switch may not be totally unconnected with somebody in the audience either. As the song finishes, Hooky, with some venom, spits, "Thanks to this red headed cunt here!" Red-headed? We're definitely in Ireland.
'Death Rattle' / Chosen Time, up next, always brings an urgency and it fires along with its usual inbuilt feel of unease, until Gillian's outro synth washes. Usually seeing the track out in a mildly windswept manner, here they take on both the sound and the volume of a hurricane brewing? Maybe she knew something we didn't. We're in Galway, the crowd won't have noticed.
'Cramp'/Hurt is nothing short of stupendous. Having slowed down the tempo to 'Dreams Never End' earlier Steve decides on the opposite for In A Lonely Place. Neither this speedier take nor the fact Barney goes at the first line of the song twice helps raise any sign of recognition from the crowd, and after the band make it safely through the rest of this Space Echo'd version I ask someone close by if 'Yer ears gone?' Could have understood it if my dad had been in the room, but he's sleeping through it all outside in the car, and unless I'm talking to a complete stranger it'll be cousin Tom. Ultraviolence leads off with a cool mix of Barney and Hooky with that "Who saw those darkies" line used back in Liverpool.
Barney's obviously feeling mischievous again tonight, and he's not finished yet, as he offers "burn my soul... in this shit-hole," a couplet most of our great poets have likely steered clear of, I think. As he chucks in a few "Time to go's from somewhere Hooky goes off on some other bassline travels, so the night's certainly building an idiosyncratic feel. Just as the song finishes, some bloke, noticing my mic, asks if he can sing a song. 'No' is the answer to that one, and then Barney makes some short reference to Galway.
Following his possible near brush with Affair's 'Everlasting Love' back in Brixton, he now springs, knowingly or otherwise, a guitar line from another '60s pop treasure, Edison Lighthouse's 'Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)'! The parentheses are very important. And to some unheard question Hooky then announces "The winner gets a bottle of wine," but if I'd just gotten the answer, I'm more than sure I more than sure I wouldn't want to be winning any bottle of wine New Order may be offering. It's likely this one will have its fair share of piss, donated by an unknown member or two of the band and road crew - minus Gillian and Dian, of course. There appear to be no takers for the prize, so Hooky goes fishing. "No one's gonna win this bottle of wine, are they?" With a bit of luck, no... apart from the bloke who annoyed Hooky earlier, maybe. Some unknown drum programming plods for a while before upping its speed and launching into The Village, which then bounces along and out without a hitch, followed by a blistering 'Little Dead' / Denial after which we get Barney and that spotted rare animal, the song introduction, again. "Alright, this next one's called 'Temptation' he announces. A big cheer goes up, before that rare animal gets rarer again, as he retracts, "Sorry... it's not." It's Blue Monday instead, and the crowd recognise and clap along to the intro, and the band leave the stage when it finishes.
The crowd's applause and shouting of 'We want more' runs for a full couple of minutes before the DJ pulls out 'Wordy Rappinghood' and we're off and running with that, but then New Order decide to come back on, and encores are now piling up like buses. Having teased earlier with the possibility of Temptation, it now actually turns up, followed by what is unquestionably my most embarrassing moment to date watching the world's finest. From 'Temptation' the band are almost immediately into what I am convinced is a ponderously slow jam they're treading water with until some piece of malfunctioning machinery is sorted. I'm then even more convinced they're again winging it when Barney feebly drags out the line 'Are You Lonesome Tonight' (twice) and follows it with 'Is your hair grey and white,' a bunch of other apparent ad-libs and some falsetto "ooooooo's". It's easy in hindsight to wonder at my reaction to what turned out to be the first ever performance (and two months earlier than previously documented) of Lonesome Tonight but back at that 'Do your balls touch the ground' additional lyric moment, having earlier thought an Edison Lighthouse cover could have appeared, it's not such a great leap to think a very warped version of an Elvis Presley song might now have entered the building. It was certainly like no other New Order song I'd ever witnessed, and as it ambles to a conclusion of sorts, the band drastically wind up the tempo for a minute before taking it down again... and out. Barely a second for applause and they're then off into Sister Ray. After a storming couple of minutes the track gets a bit chaotic, and things also go a bit Keystone Cops for me, as well.
I hand the Walkman to Tom and zip around to take a few photos (yep, sadly lost as well) but thinking the tape might be running out I rush out to the car for another. I wake my Dad and then realise my bloody tapes are in the dressing room. Dad asks,"How long?" "Give it five minutes" says me. I race back inside, round the back and into the dressing room, only to find... Barney sitting there, drink in hand, whilst the rest of New Order play on. He laughs at my startled look, and one of us shoots back out to catch the end... and it's not the lead singer. 'Sister Ray' finishes with a few speeded up 'rat-a-tat-a-tat-tat-hey's' for good measure, and nobody in this audience will have realised quite how strange some of tonight's gig has been.
After five minutes or so Tom and I pop into the dressing room for a chat and unsurprisingly I'm straight on the case of what I take to have been the 'Presley pastiche,' and even though Barney tries to convince me the song's for real, I'm not having it - and the cassette cover of my tape from the night hints as much.
It would then be nearly three months before I'd realise I'd goofed. Whether my sense of incredulity shattered their confidence in the song or not it doesn't then tum up in any of the next eight gigs! Again they likely just thought, 'Declan's had a pint too many'. Decades on and the song could have appeared wherever it liked but having been this first ever performance, even with its eventual lyrics I would never (for my sins, maybe) able to take the song seriously.
Back in the Galway dressing room, Hooky, lager to mouth, is surprised to find Tom giving the gig the thumbs up, and when the latter asks for autographs the band, Rob an a crew member or two all duly sign, and Hooky also donates his Dunlop plectrum. In 2010 the plectrum has survived, but like my photos of the night Tom's have also since been lost, and he recounts: "In those days I was going through an arty phase and used almost exclusively black and white film (Ilford 400), which I developed but rarely printed. I couldn't find a single black and white neg from those days, they'll all probably turn up in a year's time!" We don't stay too long. I've got another gig tomorrow and Hickey Sr, complete with the least ever used New Order backstage pass, now has to drive the four hours across the whole country again! 'Galway, it's been (sur)real.'
AUD v1 - Recorded by Dec Hickey, cassette insert reproduced in his book. The audio recording itself does not circulate and no other recordings are known to exist.