Uncut’s 50 Best Gigs – Extra!

Today: New Order, Heaven, Feb, 1981

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In this month’s UNCUT, our writers, friends and favourite musicians reminisce about their favourite gigs.

The October issue, onsale now, features our best 50 – including Jimi, U2, The Band and Oasis – with rare photos from the shows too.

Now here’s some more – we’ll publish one everyday this month – including online exclusives on gigs by Manic Street Preachers,The Stone Roses, Pixies, Beach Boys, and Stereophonics’ Kelly Jones and Babyshambles’ Adam Ficek‘s favourite live memories too.


Heaven Nightclub, Charing Cross, London, Feb 9, 1981


The thing about the transition from Joy Division to New Order is that nobody seemed to think about it. It had a weird inevitability. By the time it got here, it was the Heaven show, where there was this peak of expectancy. They came on in the early hours and I had about two hours to write it up for the NME. So I put down my first feelings, which did involve a mention of manly moisture. It was all incredibly moving, with a feeling of this whole thing being in flux. I think Hooky, even then, was still singing a bit. And there was this incredibly poignant gap onstage. Nobody dared move into the middle, where Ian Curtis should have been. And I suppose they still sounded like Joy Division. They hadn’t gone electronic or abstract. It was still very liquid. But you could tell it was going to work as they’d had the courage to carry on and, without playing any Joy Division songs at all, something interesting was happening.

I liked the idea of New Order sounding heavily bruised, very tender and literally trying to come out of their own shock. That nervousness onstage definitely contributed to the reputation of the band. They looked like they hadn’t really talked to each other about what had happened with Ian, like they were yet to hear the news themselves somehow.


Not even UNCUTs war-weary gig-hounds have been to every great show in history – but you lot probably have.

Email Allan_Jones@ipcmedia.com, or share your memories in the comments box below, of the ones we might have missed, and we’ll publish the best in a future issue!


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