Joy Division in concert from Paradiso in Amsterdam tonight. Recorded live on January 11, 1980 by Netherlands radio network VPRO for broadcast.
The story of Joy Division and their leader singer Ian Curtis are well known – fans know it by heart and anyone who has had even the remotest interest knows what a tragic story it is.
Suffice to say, I’m not going to repeat it, but rather focus on the concert itself and the tour that took place during this time. This is from the Joy Division fan site:
In October 1979, Joy Division were added to Buzzcocks’ autumn tour – a total of 27 dates around England, Wales and Scotland. The members of the group quit their jobs and became professional musicians. On the 16th of October, they played a one off date as part of an arts festival at Plan K in Brussels, which also included William Burroughs and Cabaret Voltaire. Michel Isbeque shot most of the set – during which they debuted “Love Will Tear Us Apart” – on video. On the two Manchester Apollo shows on the 27th and 28th of October, Richard Boon videod the group – the basis for the Ikon video release “Here Are The Young Men”.
Joy Division released their first stand-alone single, the audience favourite Transmission”
Three weeks later, Joy Division released their first stand-alone single, the audience favourite “Transmission”. In December the group performed their second John Peel session, which included “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and “Sound of Music”. In the new year, the group set out on a series of European shows: they had already played in Brussels (Plan K) and in Paris (Les Bains Douches on 18 December 1979, released on CD in 2001), but this was their first foreign tour, taking in ten dates in Holland (this concert is from that tour), Belgium and Germany. Four songs from the Effenar, Eindhoven date were filmed in Super 8, and were included in “Here Are The Young Men”.
Joy Division kept on recording during this period: in October and November, they had recorded two songs for the stand-alone Sordide Sentimental “Licht und Blindheit” release – two of their best loved songs, “Atmosphere” and “Dead Souls” – and in January they made their first attempt at what was already thought of as their sure-fire hit, “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, at Pennine Studios in Oldham. This session also saw the completion of live favourites “These Days” and “Sound of Music”. The group were not convinced about this first version and rerecorded the song at Strawberry Studios in March 1980.
After two successful London shows at the University of London Union (released as the bonus disc of the 2007 reissue of”Closer”) and at the Lyceum, Joy Division spent two weeks in March recording twelve tracks for their next album. These showcased the group’s experimentation with synthesisers and their leanings towards contemporary dance rhythms and instrumentation. During the sessions, Jean Pierre Turmel’s Sordide Sentimentale released “Atmosphere” and “Dead Souls” on a limited edition (1578) seven inch with a lavish package, including Turmel’s essay ‘Licht und Blindheit’.
If you don’t already know, I would urge you to visit the Official Joy Division site and get the full story. In the meantime, here is one of the concerts from that 1979-1980 tour of Europe. An excellent one from Amsterdam.