Joy Division concert

4th April 1980: Rainbow Theatre, London
Supporting a unique Stranglers line up along with Section 25, Fashion, and The Soul Boys

Songs performed

01. Dead Souls*
02. Wilderness
03. Shadowplay
04. Heart And Soul*
05. Decades*
06. She's Lost Control
07. Atrocity Exhibition*
Appx. duration: 30 mins.
Sound quality: 7+

* For many years there was speculation whether this unconfirmed tape existed.

Ticket courtesy Paul Lewis
Then, in 2020, on the 40th anniversary of the concert, two tracks surfaced:
Decades on Twitter (cut short at about two minutes) and Atrocity Exhibition  on YouTube.

In 2021, the 41st anniversary, Dead Souls appeared on YouTube. Heart and Soul appeared on YouTube 23 May that year.

The recording was made from seat RR 9 in the stalls, quite near the back, right of centre.

Atrocity Exhibition contains Ian Curtis shouting "Turn the lights off"
Notes: This concert was one of several sponsored by Levi Strauss to celebrate the Rainbow Theatre's 50th birthday.

The Stranglers had been booked for two concerts in the series but Hugh Cornwell was serving a short prison sentence for posession of a small quanitity of drugs at the time.

With Cornwell unavailable the Stranglers called on their friends to help out and the result was an all star line up with Ian Dury, Toyah Wilcox, Hazel O'Connor, Nicky Tesco, Phil Daniels, Peter Hammill, Jake Burns and Richard Jobson on vocals ...

Wilko Johnson, Robert Fripp, Robert Smith, Steve Hillage,
Basil Gabbidon, Larry Wallace and John Turnball on guitar.

Matthieu Hartley from The Cure on keyboards.

Nick Turner (Hawkwind) and Davey Payne (Blockheads) on sax

.. and Steel Pulse providing the rythm section.

This must have been one amazing night out - so if you were there let us know!

Read the full story on the Skippy's Cage web site ...

Joy Division: were one of the support bands that night:

During their final number Ian Curtis had an epileptic seizure brought on by the strobe lights and collapsed backwards into the drum kit. On the recording of Atrocity Exhibition he can be heard shouting "Turn the lights off"

The audience thought this was the grande finale to the show and Ian was carried off stage.

He recovered quickly and the band set off for the Moonlight Club concert.

"I was at the stranglers gig at the Rainbow on 4th April 1980. It was an amazing gig. Apart from thinking Ian's epileptic set was part of the act, I was also amazed at the site of just one persons dancing, a woman right at the front. By the way Fashion also played at the gig". - Dave

Thanks to Dave for the scans of the Stranglers And Friends info sheet above

The Stranglers performance was recorded and most of it was eventually released on the "Stranglers And Friends In Concert" CD. Also, the full set was released on the Italian 2CD bootleg issues "And Then They Were Three". We can't help but wonder if any of the support acts, including Joy Division were recorded too ...


Thanks to Skippy's Cage for the concert info