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Saturday, June 25, 2005

Greetings from ellowen deeowen - New Order plays Hyde Park

I am in London.

The first rock and roll t-shirt I ever bought was at the old Northern Lights record shop on Hennepin Avenue in 1984 or 1985. It featured a yellow and gold cog, and I can't recall if it actually said "New Order" on it, but it was one of their shirts, and I was so young at the time I actually felt cool and powerful whenever I wore the damn thing (usually with my black jeans.)

Last night I saw New Order headline the first night night of the Wireless Festival in Hyde Park. As a critical journalist, I have to agree with many who will tell you that New Order technically suck(s) live (technical issues, Bernie Sumner can't sing or remember all the words, etc.) But I must also say it's a great and heartwarming experience to see this band, especially amongst their many friends.

Peter Hook is a total ham. He spent a good part of "Temptation" way out on the side of the stage in front of the speakers and video monitor. At other times he went Lord knows where and Bernard Sumner even had to ask at one point, "Where's Hooky?" Hooky loves the limelight, he clearly loves playin bass for New Order, and damnit, we love him right back.

I found myself guessing the setlist surprisingly accurately for never having seen them. They "played the hits" as they say, everything from "Crystal" to "Regret" to "True Faith" to "Blue Monday," and an abundance of Joy Division "covers" including "Transmision" and "She's Lost Control." All we didn't get was my all time favorite (or favourite, I should say as I am in England), "Age of Consent."

Elsewhere yesterday, because of the close proximities of the stages, and conveniently staggered start times, I was able to catch Rilo Kiley, Tegan and Sara, The Psychadelic Furs, Moby, Graham Coxon, the Dresden Dolls, The Dears, and the Rogers Sisters.

It was my first time seeing Rilo Kiley (I missed their First Ave show) and they defnitely brought it. They write great songs, sound great live and definitely sold me a disc. One horrendous show moment, however, came as their guitar player did a god-awful cover of "Let My Love Open the Door" on an out of tune (are they ever in tune?) ukelele. I asked my friend (Andrew Zincke of The Smoking Beagle, "Why on earth would they do something that to a perfectly good set?" Otherwise, the show was top notch.

The Dears soared. They are definitely a band born to be seen live. (Clearly, I am playing catch up over here -- I missed the Dears at their Quest show in Minneapolis a few weeks back.) The Rogers Sisters are a Brooklyn-based band whom I was turned onto by Andrew's friend Phil from the Beggars Group.