The influential British New Wave group responsible for enduring dance-rock masterpieces such as "Blue Monday" and "Bizarre Love Triangle" announced a Miami stop on the heels of a rescheduled Chile tour date in early December. Within days of going on sale, tickets to the January 12 show had sold out.
"Who wouldn't like Miami? You'd have to be out of your mind," original New Order vocalist and guitarist Bernard Sumner mused after opening the night with "Singularity," from 2015's Music Complete. The crowd at the 3,000-capacity venue clung to every note during the two-hour-plus performance that spanned New Order's nearly 40-year
The five-piece lineup also included original percussionist Stephen Morris and keyboardist Gillian Gilbert, flanked by later additions Phil Cunningham (guitar, percussion) and Tom Chapman (bass). Together, they undoubtedly make up one of the tightest and highest-energy
Visuals throughout the show would have been familiar to anyone who attended New Order's last Miami appearance in 2016, also at the Fillmore and also sold-out. A mix of edited vintage clips and minimal geometric graphics, the dynamic video backdrop to the performance highlighted the band's influence over the aesthetics of New Wave and the future of alternative dance music, a sort of visual precursor to vaporwave.
After a quick break, New Order returned to the stage to wrap with a mini-set of Joy Division songs, including the still-pervasive crowd pleaser "Love Will Tear Us Apart." Fans of the band's original iteration as Joy Division will have appreciated that the late singer Ian Curtis came up more than once throughout the night, marking his lasting impact on both the group and the shape of postpunk music to come. The audience was also treated to a surprise opening DJ set from the legendary New York producer Arthur Baker, who worked with New Order on some of the group's biggest hits.
Sumner ended the night by promising the room that New Order would be back to Miami. Let's hope that when they return, it will be for another show at the Fillmore, whose fate as a historic midsize beacon for live music remains in the balance as further Miami Beach Convention Center development looms. The general-admission concert lent itself perfectly to an eclectic audience of mixed-age Miamians who showed up to dance, party, and pay homage to a band whose sound has set the stage for so much of the city's musical DNA.