New Order typified the 1980s, and this performance of ‘Age of Consent’ live from the BBC in 1984 is a time capsule representing the Manchester legends at the peak of the powers.
By 1984, New Order had successfully established their own identity and managed to shake off the connotations of their former outfit, Joy Division, which were crippling at the beginning. It took the public a while to accept that they were not a continuation of the Ian Curtis-led group, instead emerging as a whole new entity.
Their debut album, Movement, helped bridge the gap between the two bands, but the follow-up Power, Corruption & Lies is responsible for laying out the true blueprint for the New Order sound. ‘Age Of Consent’ is the opening track from the game-changing record, and it marked a coming-of-age moment in the band’s history.
For their drummer, Stephen Morris, it was a track that New Order desperately needed to have in their arsenal, and he knew straight away they were onto something good with ‘Age Of Consent’.
During a Tim Burgess’ listening party for Power, Corruption & Lies, Morris told his followers: “And we’re off Age of Consent, A great place to start. Every song we’d ever done was a search for the elusive Fast dancy number. We definitely found it with this one!!! One of those songs that you knew was going to be great from the word go.”
He continued: “An uplifting happy/ sad song- like all the best ones are. An easy one to record this- No sequencers or Drum machines to break down. probably the most recently finished when we began recording which made it fresh and exciting.”
Even though Morris’ relationship with original New Order bassist Peter Hook is seemingly fractured beyond repair, the drummer did compliment his former bandmate’s work on the track. He added: “Hooky’s bass riff on Age Of Consent is fantastic. The drums are recycled from an old song-see if you can guess which one. Clue it was one of ours.”
The footage below of New Order performing ‘Age Of Consent’ is taken from their session for John Peel’s BBC Radio 1 programme in 1984, which was shown simultaneously on BBC Two, which is in an inclination of the group’s enormous popularity. Brighten up your day and consume a slice of pop perfection.