After negotiating the seemingly endless queue for the sold out gig at Wakefield’s Warehouse 23, Peter Hook and the Light made it all worthwhile. The venue was tightly packed with a predominantly middle-aged audience keen to show that Hooky could unlock their youthful exuberance, culminating in plenty of trips to the bar and enthusiastic singing and jumping around. This energy was welcomed but it was stamina which was required for what turned out to be just short of three hours of Peter Hook’s phenomenal back catalogue.
They have discarded the tradition of having a support act, instead they break the evening into sections and play them all themselves. The first of the three sets they performed on the night was made up of material from his time with Joy Division. Opening with “Dead Souls” and finishing on “Ceremony” it was a collection of the more well know Joy Division tracks, with one very notable omission.
I had presumed, perhaps wrongly and based on my own personal biases, that most of Hooky’s fans would be more interested in the Joy Division works rather than his New Order pieces, but that wasn’t the case with this audience. The opening slot was very well received but that was nothing in comparison to the reception the New Order material got. This was evident from the very beginning of the second set in which they played New Order’s Brotherhood album from start to finish. Tracks like “Bizarre Love Triangle” evoked much more audience participation than “Transmission” did in their opening gambit.
Their third stint on stage was a performance the New Order album Low-life. They gradually ramped up the atmosphere amongst the fans and a rowdy finale of “Face Up” would have been a great note to finish on but the audience weren’t prepared for it to end. The band then returned for an encore of three New Order classics, again with one very notable omission. The marathon gig was brought to a close with a rousing rendition of “Temptation” as the crowd bounced around and passionately sang along, almost like it was a football chant.
Before “Temptation” began it was dedicated to their good friend Howard Marks, of Mr Nice fame, a man who could never resist temptation. Howard couldn’t make the gig as he is tragically dying of cancer but he had hoped to be able to make an appearance. The night then ended with Peter Hook removing his Nirvana t-shirt, exclaiming “Wakefield, you have worn me out”, and throwing it into the crowd.
Hook is a pioneer, he has refuted that the bass should be a backing instrument and made sure it is integral and prominent in all the work he creates. Never one to shy away from controversy Peter informed the crowd that he had recently received a legal letter from New Order accusing them of sounding too much like New Order. His response to this was “Well the other lot fucking don’t”.
For me a marker of just how good this gig was came during the journey home I suddenly realised that they hadn’t played either “Blue Monday” or “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and they weren’t even missed or required.