Over summer, New Order announced they would be doing a European tour. Then the Foo Fighters announced they’d be doing a European tour. Then I received a scholarship to Dubai. Since Dubai is much closer to Europe than Maryland or California and I now had a little cash to spare, I figured that this obviously meant I had to go to Europe.
One of my initial plans was to go to Paris to see New Order and then to Amsterdam to see the Foo Fighters. A later plan was to go to the Foo Fighters in Paris and then New Order in London. I eventually decided on going to London to see New Order and then to Barcelona to see the Foo Fighters. The Foo Fighters show was cancelled following the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, but I’m lucky that my travel still worked out well. I’ve seen the Foos three times before, and because I was holding out for the cheapest tickets, I still hadn’t bought my tickets, so it worked out, all things considered, well for me.
As such, I planned to spend two nights in London and two nights in Barcelona–way too short, of course, but that already had me missing three days of class.
To my absolute delight, it was RAINING in London. I miss rain so much. And it was foggy as we landed! It wasn’t a San Franciscan fog, but still.
I took the train to the hostel I was staying at and a guy I met recommended me a fish and chips shop. I took my freshly wrapped parcel to a wet bench in a beautiful green space with bright lively grass and ate in absolute ecstasy. It’s been since ’09, since I was last in New Zealand, that I had good fish and chips, and no one understands the pain.
I took the bus to the concert venue, arriving at 3:30 because I knew I’d be far too anxious to actually do any sight-seeing. To my surprise, there were only two people already queueing. I did a loop around the venue and to my utmost excitement, saw Phil Cunningham and Tom Chapman exiting a van. I completely fangirled inside but kept walking (slower than I’d ever walked before) because I’m a shy goose and I didn’t want to bug them.
As soon as the sun set, I got super cold–maybe I’m more accustomed to Dubai than I think–but a friendly security guard chatted with us about music back in the day (and gave the three of us who were there ex, and I ended up befriending lovely people–a Brit, an American, and a Brazilian. And ultimately, being the third person in line and having only my wallet and phone in my purse, I got first dibs on the railing.
To my disappointment, I didn’t enjoy the concert half as much as I thought I would because of the crowd. I had the most perfect view of Bernard Summers and the band, but the crowd was insanely rowdy. I’ve been to a few concerts where I’ve been as close or almost as close, including a Cure concert summer 2014, but I’d never seen anything like it–too many drunk 40-50 year old men moshing around and just slamming into those of us at the front. It was weird and unpleasant and I was disappointed by their lack of respect.
New Order had been playing the same setlist each night of this tour and I’d been stalking so I knew what songs to expect but I hadn’t watched any videos so I’d be surprised by what they did. I was a little disappointed by how they remixed “Waiting for the Siren’s Call” and “True Faith,” two of my most favourite songs, but they’re ultimately a dance band (which I often forget) and their was a lot of really groovy stuff in there.
I was particularly impressed by their visual effects. I’d seen the video for “Restless,” but the compilation they had made for “Singularity” was incredible (and so pointed), and I was most impressed by the video for “Your Silent Face”:
This was from the concert in Stockholm, but was the best footage I could find that captured the screens. So much commentary on the environment but also vaguely uplifting. “We asked you what you’d seen; you said you didn’t care.”
New Order took a really long time to grow on me, but I absolutely adore them and I’m honestly so, so, so thrilled that I was able to see them live. It may have been due to lack of sleep, but I teared up far too much. I wouldn’t see them again in the UK because the audience was so horrible, but I hope to catch them again elsewhere.
I refuse to watch concerts through a camera lens, but I’m sure if you google it there are some great pictures floating around!