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Credit: Kevin Cummins

Revisit New Order's genre-defining performance of 'Temptation' in New York City, 1981


We’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to look back at quite possibly one of the most definitive performances of New Order’s career. While they may be celebrated now, in 1981, they were an unknown quantity until this performance defined the band and the genre.

In 1981, New Order was quite possibly the best band on the planet that nobody really understood. 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. It killed Joy Division. When the death cancelled the band’s hallowed US tour, there must’ve been the feeling that the remaining members of the band had lost their shot at realising their dreams. 

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 and went home, a little shaken and certainly worse for wear.  

They were not deterred though and returned to North America in 1981, just before their debut album Movement was ready 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 Ukrainian National Home in New York with a professional camera crew rolling all the while, capturing the madness of a new decade. 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 almost instantly 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 truly 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 and who would be crafting it.  

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.

In other news, New Order have announced the new definitive edition of their seminal 1983 album Power, Corruption & Lies will arrive on October 2nd and provide a wealth of tantalising extras.

Manchester legends New Order are a favourite among music lovers and record collectors. Their unique compositions both physically and figuratively on record will continue into the new decade with this collection.

The collection will include an LP, two CDs, two bonus DVDs and a hardback book and quite possibly be the ultimate gift for any New Order fan. The album is a landmark moment for the group and these additional insights will provide hours of perusing.

The definitive edition of Power, Corruption & Lies lands on October 2nd.

Source: Rolling Stone