Transmission: Singapore

I first heard New Order back when I was in High School.

I fell in love with them through the track Thieves Like Us, something I bought on vinyl from my beloved Tower Records (back in the day when it still HAD records in the bins).  There was something about that song -the way the synths opened it up, then the entrance of that trademark Peter Hook bass line - it was like sensing an evening of possibilities. I'd pop the cassette into the car stereo and play it over and over on the ride to wherever. Saturdays meant a party somewhere - back then it was always "somewhere" - a house, usually, unlike today when it's all about "hitting the club". It was all quite grass roots. There was a corner to grab a cold drink, and a table filled with chips, sandwiches, and cocktail dogs on a stick, pinned into watermelons or stuff like that. The dance floors were hot, cooled off by a couple of strategically placed electric fans, but it was all about getting lost in the music and dancing with the girls. We had it goooood..

Getting lost in the music was exactly what I did when I left for Singapore to catch New Order in concert - all by my lonesome. I had never really done anything quite that spontaneous for music, but this was New Order - when else was I going to hear this legendary band? Besides, the original members (sans the aforementioned bass player Hooky) were all together again!

My co-concert goers

The gig was at the beautifully lush Fort Canning Park. My old friend Scho picked me up from my hotel (YES! I wasn't going to be a loner!), and together with her hubby Tim we did our own little tailgating party, with sausage + guac sandwiches and ice cold beer -- all the better to fortify ourselves for the aural bliss ahead.

I purchased nicer than normal tickets (yeah, I kinda spoiled myself) and went up to a hill in the back of the park, inside a tented area that offered even more beer and other booze, plus some munchies. It was up there in my perch of sorts that I began to notice how orderly these Singaporeans were. Sure, there were a lot of people, but everything seemed a bit too tranquil. I wasn't sure if it was because the age demographic was a bit higher than that of, say, a Katy Perry gig, but it was just so peaceful. As the band took the stage, the crowd finally lived up, and off they went through their set.


By the third song, Scho sends me a text asking me to come down and join them BY THE STAGE. How the hell was I going to get there?? Simple - apparently I just walk up to it. And that's exactly what I did: take a leisurely stroll down the grounds, through the throngs who happily let me through, 'til I went right up to the foot of the stage. How cool is that? I seriously think: only in Singapore.

They played a lot of good stuff - Age of Consent, Krafty, Temptation, Ceremony, Perfect Kiss, Regret, Blue Monday  (I'll say it again: "Yes, New Order is more than just Bizarre Love Triangle!") and encored with a mini-Joy Division tribute, playing Transmission and the immortal Love Will Tear Us Apart while flashing the face of Ian Curtis on the screen.

The crowd then slowly filed out, and disappeared. And just like that, a longtime dream of mine came to a sweet end.

Bathed in Light