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Revisit New Order's electric performance of 'Lonesome Tonight' at The Hacienda, 1983


We’re taking a trip back to a time before Manchester was just a sea of Parkas, a time before paint-splattered guitars reigned supreme, and even before the big mouth with a quiff was properly making his mark. Let’s take a trip back to The Hacienda to see New Order at work.

New Order are a band synonymous with the Manchester music scene. Through the seventies and eighties the band, or members of it, were continuously involved in the most seminal moments of Mancunian musical history. We thought to ourselves, is there anywhere more fitting to watch New Order than the Hacienda then? No, no there isn’t.

The Hacienda wasn’t just a venue—it was the focal point of Manc music for over 15 years with its presence being felt even now after its demolition in 2002. And the band’s connection runs deep with the venue too. The group had been investors in the superclub from almost the same moment as Factory records chief Tony Wilson decided to jump on board.

For the early moments, despite not being a financial success, the venue was widely adored by musos and partygoers alike. During the ’80s and ’90s, The Hacienda was the only place to go if you were really keen on the Madchester lifestyle. Opening in 1982 this clip from July ’83 is footage of a building block of the venue’s upcoming success being laid. And it was laid with aplomb.

The footage below is a brief look at New Order giving the Hacienda crowd everything they had, with Peter Hook’s bassline being a particularly fantastic triumph. It sees them performing their not-so-well-known hit ‘Lonesome Tonight’ which came out as a b-side to single ‘Thieves Like Us’ and later ended up on the band’s 1987 Substance compilation.

The band is flawless with many saying that this raw live performance far outranks the recorded version. Hooky’s bass line is so big and heavy it rattles the speakers, Sumner is on point throughout, swishing and swaying with usual nervous energy. Meanwhile, Stephen Morris is like a metronomic bullet train and Gillian Gilbert is as delicate a renaissance brushstroke. All while the band are bathed in an eerie blue light.

These clips, however inconsequential they may seem, are actually the supporting evidence of how and why music is what it is today. New Order would go on to change musical history with their hit ‘Blue Monday’—a track many say is the beginning of EDM—The Hacienda would play host to every band worth their salt, and everyone in the crowd that night likely left a New Order fan.

Watch below as New order take to the stage at their home, The Hacienda and deliver a sumptuous performance of ‘Lonesome Tonight’.