I’m happy when the bands of my youth choose not to retire and continue to tour and make new music. New Order was fantastic in San Francisco last night.
My first ever concert was New Order in the summer of 1989 at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, Calif. I remember doing the driving and coming home with a nail in one of the tires and my dad was not pleased with me. That was back when I felt the U.K., particularly Manchester, England, was the center of the music universe.
I saw New Order as recently as last year in Vegas. But of the four times I’ve seen the band, last night was my favorite. I was surrounded by people who also grew up with late ’80s modern rock, who for a brief moment, also wanted to relive their youth. The audience was loud. Everyone was into each song, enjoying themselves and dancing as the band, full of energy, played their hits, from Bizarre Love Triangle to Blue Monday.
My wife said what made last night’s concert special was the crowd. She likes to read crowds, and last night, the thousands that packed the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium was full of positive vibes. Sometimes at concerts, there’s tension when people bump into you as they push their way to the front of the stage. But she said last night’s New Order concert was different. People made eye contact and smiled as they gently weaved their way to the front. And it was true.
Perhaps sensing that, the band came back out for a second encore and played Scott McKenzie’s 1960’s hit San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in You Hair). The one with the lyric, “If you’re going to San Francisco, you’re gonna meet some gentle people there.”
Well, for one night, that was indeed true.