Peter Hook & The Light performing their Joy Divison: A Celebration Tour at Rock City Nottingham on Saturday 16th April 2022

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

As with most tours of the last two years, this one was also delayed, but Peter Hook & The Light were welcomed back to Rock City on Saturday night.

Peter Hook is the iconic bassist of Joy Division and New Order, a man whose uniquely melodic bass playing has had a huge influence on the indie music scene. In 2010 after a much publicized riff with lead singer Bernard Sumner of New Order fame, Hook left to form Peter Hook & The Light and as it has been thirty years since the passing of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, Hook wanted to commemorate that and decided that there was no better way than to play Unknown Pleasures and Closer in their entirety.

Playing a few New Order numbers to get the crowd warmed up, Hook started with the gorgeous instrumental track Elegia which showed off his amazing bass playing skills. The next two songs were also fairly obscure, The Him and Lonesome Tonight but the second half of this short set was saved for the hits.

Age Of Consent was the first song that impacted upon the crowd, which was followed by New Order’s most popular song, the unmistakable beat of Blue Monday before the opening set was finished with Temptation that had the crowd belting out the chorus.

After a short break the band comprising bassist Jack Bates, drummer Paul Kehoe, guitarist David Potts and Martin Rebelski on keyboards, came back on to the stage to deliver Joy Division’s 1979 debut studio album, Unknown Pleasures. Playing each track in the order of the original vinyl, first up was Disorder. She’s Lost Control got the crowd going whilst New Dawn Fades was a particular favourite.

This part of the set finished with the eerie and depressing I Remember Nothing but the warmth and connective energy that Hook displayed was both engaging and uplifting. His vocals were particularly impressive given that he is primarily a bassist.

After another short break they were back on for 1980’s Closer, which is a bleaker and less hit laden affair and it did get pretty intense at times. Starting with Atrocity Exhibition and its catchy drum beat before the crowd showed their appreciation for the fantastic guitar playing in Isolation. But Hook brought the tone down with the likes of Eternal which certainly wasn’t cheery.

The final song on the album is Decades which was great to hear live and with David Potts’ brilliant guitar playing, it was a wonderful instrumental.

Back on for the encore Hook and his band treated the crowd to a couple more Joy Division hits which never made either of the albums. Warsaw was followed by Transmission and the beautiful Ceremony which was released by New Order but was actually written as a Joy Division song. Closer Love Will Tear Us Apart saw Hook launch into the iconic bass line and the atmosphere in Rock City rose to a crescendo and brought the house down.