'What a night': Peter Hook thrills UEA crowd with Joy Division back catalogue

Peter Hook performing at the UEA LCR.

Peter Hook performing at the UEA LCR. - Credit: Paul Jones

'What a night! There are going to be some ***** up pensioners in the morning, and I’m one of them!’

So says Peter Hook, former bassist with Joy Division and New Order, after an absolutely thrilling Saturday night show at Norwich’s UEA LCR. 

Hook and his band ‘The Light’ are midway through a Covid-delayed tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of the two acclaimed Joy Division albums ‘Unknown Pleasures’ and ‘Closer’. 

And for fans of the Manchester band, that means the chance to see the two albums played back to back and in full, with Hook delivering the lyrics with passion and meaning. 

But first he served up the wonderful treat of Peter Hook playing New Order, as support for Peter Hook playing Joy Division. 

Hook and his band ‘The Light’ are midway through a Covid-delayed tour.

Hook and his band ‘The Light’ are midway through a Covid-delayed tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of the two acclaimed Joy Division albums ‘Unknown Pleasures’ and ‘Closer’. - Credit: Paul Jones

Hearing ‘Blue Monday’ and ‘Temptation’ plus five other early New Order tracks at 8pm certainly gets the crowd warmed up.

And then, after just a few minutes of rest, it’s straight into 1979’s Unknown Pleasures, highlights of which includes ‘I Remember Nothing’ and ‘She’s Lost Control’.  

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Hook may not have the same, intense, piercing delivery of the late frontman Ian Curtis, but years of playing these songs have given him a confidence and style all of his own. 

And once he gets working on his bass, guitar hung low in that famous style of his, the crowd is entranced. 

Another very short break and it’s straight into 1980’s Closer, an album which I find a harder listen at times and as such a couple of the songs don’t quite hit the mark. 

Peter Hook wowing fans in Norwich.

Peter Hook wowing fans in Norwich. - Credit: Paul Jones

But the final four tracks on Closer are truly epic and you can sense the audience, a mix of both old and young fans, are fully immersed in the intense and truly personal songs. 

As fans will know, several of Joy Division’s best songs didn’t appear on their albums, which affords Hook and his band the chance to play a thrilling four-song encore including Transmission and Love Will Tear Us Apart, by which time a large mosh pit has formed and there are bodies everywhere. 

By the end the band have played for almost three hours - and it has passed-by in a flash.

Having been lucky enough to see Peter Hook and the Light before, I knew this would not simply be a tribute night and a load of old blokes belting our a few tunes.

I hadn’t quite expected it to be such an intense, passionate and emotional performance - but then again these are some of the best songs written in the last 40 years.