8th October 1979: Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland
On tour with the Buzzcocks
Jen C was there - and saved the setlist and autographed ticket shown above:
I won't ever forget the gig and getting backstage
afterwards - I gave the Buzzcocks a miss so I could catch
the lads before they left. Me and my boyfriend were
obsessed with Joy Division ever since the ideal for living
ep came out so meeting them was a really big thing for us
- huge. Of course being 16 I was completely inarticulate
and could barely manage 'hello I think you're great' so no
deep discussions to report!
For more info see our messageboard
Ticket scan thanks to
Ken Peat was there:
October 1979, at art college. Big news, Joy Division are
coming to town, supporting the Buzzcocks. Everybody must
have been excited, you exclaim…well, not really. A tidal
wave of indifference is how I remember it.
The big night, October 8th, the venue, the Caird Hall, a
cavernous Victorian concert hall, where the Beatles and
the Stones had played many years before. The audience is
very young (I was a mature 18) and nearly everybody is
there for the Buzzcocks. The crowd is quite large if my
memory serves me well but I spot some familiar faces from
art college and from gigs, people who are here for the
right reason. I am with a small group of friends, fellow
believers. I don’t recollect individual tracks, just the
enormity and the intensity of the sound. All bands that I
had seen live up to this point now faded into
insignificance. Ian Curtis danced like he had on the TV.
Then he collapsed and had to be helped from the stage. Did
the band play on without him? I think so, but it was a
long time ago. I remember the general lack of interest
from the majority of the audience. My friends and I, along
with the isolated souls that I had earlier spotted,
applauded wildly, quite a few people booed.
Then it was over. The Buzzcocks played and were ok (the
just re-released Boredom was the highpoint) but they were
an anti climax. I later read Greil Marcus on the Gang of
Four, how he had seen them as support to …the Buzzcocks,
and how they had blown him away to the extent that he
didn’t stay for the main act. Wish I had thought of that.
Afterwards we drank far too much beer and didn’t
really discuss the gig very much. We knew that we had seen
something extraordinary but didn’t really feel the need to
talk about it. Perhaps it was our Scottishness,
interiorizing everything; perhaps it was due to the lack
of an adequate vocabulary. Or perhaps it was the beer.
Around midnight we headed home, via the Chinese takeaway.
When we opened the door there were 4 guys waiting at the
counter for their order. They were all wearing suits and
had short, neat hair. One of my friends started mumbling
things about “fucking mods”. We were in the midst of a
media-driven mod revival and my circle of friends
generally frowned upon nouveau mods. Then, as the 4 smart
young men headed out the door, the penny dropped – they
were Joy Division. What should we do? Run after them and
engage them in conversation? Offer them some prawn
crackers? Ask them if they had access to more beer? In the
end we piled out of the takeaway, with no clear plan of
how to proceed, and saw them standing 100 yards away,
eating their food opposite their hotel (the Queens Hotel,
Perth Rd.). Someone, possibly me, said “let’s go and speak
to them”. They turned round at that point and, possibly
misinterpreting our intentions, briskly walked across the
road and into the hotel. They were gone, and we headed
home, not realizing that this was the last opportunity we
would have of conversing with Ian Curtis. I think that we
all thought the band was destined for greatness and we
would see them again, in the near future.
We never got the opportunity to speak to Ian but did get
to speak to the other members of the group when they
played at St. Andrews some time later, on their first
national tour as New Order. Details are shrouded in the
mists of time and beer but I remember they didn’t want to
talk about Joy Division. They were otherwise open and
amiable, not like their media image. I seem to remember
Peter hook being the chattiest, funny and opinionated.
They were great live, just like Joy Division, but without
the presence, without the weight, without the magic.