New Order offers up a look into the future with their 1981 performance of ‘Temptation’
In 1981, New Order was quite possibly the best band on the planet. It’s to be expected as they came from the best band of 1980; Joy Division. When they finally made it out to America to tour their new album Movement the US audience was left agog at their combination of rock and electronic music. This rare footage of a 10-minute version of their song ‘Temptation’ shows New Order at their very beginning, and possibly, their very best.
When Ian Curtis committed suicide it didn’t only end the life of a man in irreconcilable pain but it ended the band he had worked to create with Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris. When the death cancelled the band’s US tour, there must’ve been the feeling that the remaining members of the band had lost their shot.
Soon though, they gathered themselves up off the floor and committed to returning to the States as a new band, with a new sound, New Order would still crack America. They did return as a trembling trio. A little ill-equipped, likely still reeling from the loss of their friend and leader, they completed a few small club shows for a handful of uncompromising Yanks.
They were not deterred though and returned to the New World in 1981, just before their debut album Movement was about to hit the shelves, for a more complete tour and this time a full band. With Gillian Gilbert, Morris’ girlfriend, joining the band on keys and Bernard becoming a more confident and powerful lead singer with every performance they were ready to show the US audiences who they really were.
One such performance took place at a music summit, hosted by some US record companies and saw the band perform at the Ukranian National Home in New York with a professional camera crew rolling all the while. It’s lucky it did as it provides us with a window into one of the most engaging moments of New Order’s career.
The majority of the setlist was made up from the band’s soon-to-be-released debut LP but they also found room for a new track that would become a fan favourite; ‘Temptation’. Though it wouldn’t be released until May of 1982, the song found a home in their live setlist and it was clear from the start it would hold a special place in the hearts of the audiences who saw it.
This particular version of the song is a wondrous thing. Though the lyrics are a way off being the complete lyrics, as we know them today, musically they are spot on. The band, offering an American audience a brief window into what the musical landscape of the eighties would be like.
The 10-minute long version of the song is a beautiful thing to watch, not least because of its groundbreaking gravitas, but because of the tight and knowing air of talent the band offer. It even features what was their signature exit; leaving one by one as their instruments kept on playing. In 1981, it would send audiences wild.
Watch this rare footage of New Order performing a 10-minute long version of ‘Temptation’ back in 1981