New Order and Goldfrapp Gave L.A. Fans a Memorable Hollywood Bowl Performance

Fans of New Order and Goldfrapp flocked to the Hollywood Bowl on Sept. 18 for a one-two-punch performance that bridged two distinct generations. New Order, a band of enigmatic innovators that rose out of tragedy in the 1980s, inspired a generation with their coupling of synth-driven beats and mournful vocals. The group’s former moniker, Joy Division, was mostly associated with moody teens sitting in their bedrooms staring at the wall, but New Order’s music found itself in the clubs, and the rest is history.

Opening up for New Order at the Hollywood Bowl were Mute Records label mates Goldfrapp, an outfit with heaps of acclaim in their own right. Influenced by New Order’s pioneering sound, Alison Goldfrapp and collaborator Will Gregory launched a time-tested career in 2000 that touched on a slew of different, yet equally compelling sounds, including cinematic glam and disco. Needless to say, when news of both groups sharing the stage for an iconic night of music broke, it was obvious fans would rush the Hollywood Bowl in droves.

And rush they did, eager to watch the spectacle that was two larger-than-life bands strut their stuff live and in color. Goldfrapp managed to say what fans were thinking despite doing very little banter, taking the legendary stage and opening with a very recognizable synth-heavy beat and cries of “I can’t wait anymore!” Thankfully, the wait was over.

Goldfrapp whipped fans into a frenetic frenzy, playing several cuts off their latest album, 2017’s eclectic “Silver Eye,” including buzzing hip-shaker “Systemagic,” the hypnotic “Become the One” and the minimalistic “Everything is Never Enough.” They certainly didn’t ignore their expansive back-catalogue by any means, though, unabashedly launching into hits like “Train” off the “Black Cherry” album or “You Never Know” from “Supernature.” They kept their best for last, banging out hits “Ride a White Horse” and “Ooh La La” before shutting things down with “Strict Machine,” and much like most Hollywood Bowl openers, the set felt too succinct for its own good.

With their Mute contemporaries setting the pace, New Order took the stage and kicked things off with “Singularity,” a track with a bass line reminiscent of Joy Division’s “Shadowplay,” before morphing into something utterly distinctive. Fans of the old Joy Division needn’t worry, though, as there was plenty of homage paid to the group’s former iteration, with “Disorder” following and keeping the momentum going.

New Order struck a pristine balance between deep cuts and hits like “True Faith,” “Subculture” and “The Perfect Kiss” during a set that neared two hours. They saved their ace in the hole, the rapturous “Blue Monday,” until second-to-last, capping off their set with “Temptation.” But the historic group was far from finished, hitting the stage for three encores, each paying tribute to Joy Division. “Decades,” “Atmosphere,” and the indelible angsty anthem “Love Will Tear us Apart” rang loud and clear throughout the Bowl, officially ending the night on a solid note of nostalgia.

There was an unmistakable air of finality to this show, as it marks the end of New Order’s nearly two-year stint on the road in support of “Music Complete.”

Directly after New Order’s set an earthquake shook the Hollywood Bowl in typical California fashion, but everyone in attendance was so wired up they seemed to take no notice — also in California fashion. It’s most likely a naturally occurring phenomenon, but perhaps Mother Earth was having a very visceral reaction to the band playing “Vanishing Point” in the U.S. for the first time in 28 long years. At least, that would make for a better narrative. It was a show so good, even the earth decided to dance.

New Order and Goldfrapp played the Hollywood Bowl Sept. 18.