Joy Division concert

2nd May 1980: High Hall, Birmingham University Two different tapes of this concert existTwo different tapes of this concert existTwo different tapes of this concert exist
Supported by A Certain Ratio

Joy Division's final performance

Copyright Mick Emerson click for larger image

Thanks to John W for the poster scan

Neil Woodvine tells us: "Due to an error all the posters had the wrong date - 22nd May and, invariably, the first '2' was inked out to show the correct date"

Dave Haslam remembers: "It was a dining room at a student hall of residence. 300 people there I reckon. I was ten rows from the front. It was a ramshackle affair, Ian left the stage at least once".

Ticket scan thanks to Simon Parker

There are three different recordings of this concert: a soundboard recording and two audience tapes. See below

Songs performed:
01. Ceremony
02. Shadowplay
03. A Means To An End
04. Passover
05. New Dawn Fades
06. Twenty Four Hours
07. Transmission
08. Disorder
09. Isolation
10. Decades *
11. Digital.

Joy Division used this concert to debut one of their new songs "Ceremony".

During Decades Ian stumbled, and had to be helped off stage while the rest of the band played on. He recovered enough to return for an encore: "Digital".

Copyright Martin Hardy - click for larger image

The official soundboard recording was released on the Still double LP which included all eleven songs despite Twenty Four Hours not being credited on the sleeve. The original boxed tape issue from circa 1986 also includes Twenty Four Hours, but later CD issues and reissues donít. The beginning of Ceremony is cut on this recording due to an error.
Sound quality: 9/9

The first audience tape includes the complete concert and this two song soundcheck:

01. Ceremony
02. Decades.
Appx. duration: 45 mins (concert) + 10 minutes (soundcheck).
Sound quality 7-8/9 (concert) 6-7/9 (soundcheck). The soundcheck was recorded from the other side of a door so it sounds more distant and muffled.

The second audience tape surfaced in 2009, thanks to Andrew Lagowski, This recording is missing 24 Hours, Transmission and Disorder. In addition Ceremony is missing some of the intro and Decades is incomplete.
The sound quality of this tape is poor Ė 3/9

Despite being released officially on the Still album the concert has appeared on a few bootlegs:

Out Of The room LP featured Ceremony and Decades from the soundcheck

Ceremony LP featured the whole concert and was also released as Live LP

Disorder LP featured the whole concert

Closer Live One Track, Decades

High Hall Birmingham in 1981. Venue for Joy Division's final concert
(C) Copyright Birmingham 81 and reproduced here with permission

In January 2014 the, renamed, Chaimberlain Hall was demolished having been empty for six years.
The Vale student accommodation was built on the site.
(C) Copyright Birmingham Post and reproduced here with permission


Click for larger image
Setlist thanks to
O Eterno

Copyright Mick Emerson click for larger images

David Pryke was there:

I went as an 18 year old student from the near by Aston University. Joy Division were known as the coolest band on the circuit but I was only familiar (so I thought) with the single Transmission.

A few memories - they were very very late! We hung around for a long time listening to ACR sound check. A mixed audience of students, punks and rockers (think they call the latter metalers nowadays).

Remember ACR doing a cracking set (I think at the time I enjoyed this more, but it paled rather following the news later in the month). Someone had recorded me a few avant guard numbers the summer before but had not put down the play list. I'd sussed out Crass, Tubeway Army, Magazine and the Shadows! But he'd said there were a couple of special tracks at the end that I hadn't a clue who performed them. I was pretty impressed and played them to mates at the time who were equally impressed.

It wasn't until I heard the first few chords of Shadowplay at High Hall that I realised who the mystery group were. The other track also played on the night and one of my faves was New Dawn Fades - Moby played this at a recent gig at Brixton Academy as homage to Ian Curtis - I was the only member of the (generally young) audience who appreciated it.

The other memory is slam dancing during the faster numbers. Not very cool!

These photos surfaced in 2019 as Part of Peter Hook's Signature
Collection auction at Omega Auctions. They were originally bought,
from the Birmingham Cards & Posters collectibles shop about a
week after the concert.
Copyright owner unknown.
Many thanks to Lou Baeza who won the auction and provided us
with these scans.

Copyright Mick Emerson click for larger image

Flyer courtesy of Pat Teasdale and Neil Woodvine