CONCERT REVIEW : Peter Hook and the Light – o2 Academy Edinburgh 14th April 2023

There is something analogous between rock & roll and Peter Pan, and this could be considered in the setting of Peter Hook celebrating the legacy of Joy Division and his musical beginnings in that band.

I haven’t quite worked it all out given the dichotomy of his perennial Peter Pan role and that of his namesake archenemy in this analogy, although it could be said that he is the captain of this ship – Joy Division: A Celebration.

What originally started as a one-off live performance over ten years ago has developed into an ongoing project with Paul Duffy replacing Jack Bates on bass, David Potts, Paul Kehoe & Martin Rebelski are this evenings The Light’

The introductory set of New Order material acts as a warm-up exercise, starting with ‘Chosen Time’ and finishing with ‘Regret’ with Ultra-violence, Sub-Culture, The Village, Vanishing Point making up this wonderful opening set with David Potts sounding excellent on the ones he sang.

After this opening salvo, the band’s return is soundtracked by the early influencing Kraftwerk track ‘Trans Europe Expres’. For this set of Joy Division’s debut album ‘Unknown Pleasures’. Peter announces to the faithful that it had been a hard day as he attended the funeral of Oliver Park the son of legendary Hacienda DJ Graeme Park and dedicated the opening number ‘Atmosphere’ to his memory.

Sounding good it’s easier to accept Hooky’s deeper, gravelly vocals as a replacement for those of the departed Ian Curtis; although on ‘Disorder’, he growls like he’s in need of a throat lozenge.

There are only a few, brief audience interactions with Hooky keeping to the programme while enjoying playing the aforementioned Peter Pan role.

Throughout the evening there is the occasional illusion of intimacy as he makes eye contact with individuals and winks and breaks the fourth wall, such as while playing side of stage, he nods and acknowledges one of the security staff who was trying to be discrete.

The third set consists of the final official Joy Division album; ‘Closer’ builds to a satisfying climax with the segue of ‘Heart And Soul’ into ‘Twenty Four Hours’, and then the pairing of the funereal ‘The Eternal’ and ‘Decades’ seeming prophetic in retrospect given that Ian Curtis later took his own life.

For these final songs of the album, you are transfixed by the band and almost forget the audience around you.

Next up was ‘Digital’ followed with the somewhat uplifting ‘Ceremony’. After an extraneous, sounding out of place ‘Transmission’, the perhaps obligatory ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ ends the evening and is a misconstrued party anthem with the audience singing the chorus back to the band.

In his final moments on stage, Hooky holds his bass aloft like a sacrificial kill. He takes off his shirt like he has completed a kind of rite of passage and throws it to the die hards down front like some passing of the baton to perhaps the next generation of lost boys.

SET LIST:

Chosen Time, Ultra Violence, Sub-Culture, The Village, Vanishing Point, Regret, Atmosphere, Disorder, Day Of The Lords, Candidate, Insight, New Dawn Fades, She’s Lost Control, Shadow-play, Wilderness, Interzone, I Remember Nothing, Atrocity Exhibition, Isolation, Passover, Colony, A Means To An End, Heart And Soul, Twenty Four Hours, The Eternal, Decades, Digital, Transmission, Ceremony, Love Will Tear Us Apart.

Review & Photographs by Stuart Stott

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