28th February 1979: Playhouse Theatre, Nottingham
Joy Division were the unbilled support for John Cooper
Clarke. Some accounts have put Buzzcocks on the bill too,
but that is incorrect.
Songs played (from collective memories below)
New Dawn Fades
She's Lost Control
Image courtesy Charlie Harvey
Nottingham Playhouse is a seated theatre catering for plays
and the arts so it was an unusual venue for Joy Division and
hardly ideal, particularly as there was no advance notice they
would be playing. The "new wave" venue in Nottingham back then
was the Sandpiper.
The van carrying Joy Division's PA was involved in a serious
motorway accident and arrived late with damaged equipment
inside so John Cooper Clarke did an impromptu opening set,
followed by Joy Division, and then he headlined.
Paul can remember the gig:
I can confirm Joy Division played Nottingham Playhouse. I
(aged 15). I can't confirm the date, it was about the time
(winter); but they were supporting the Buzzcocks and John
which may help you work it out.
I think it was JCC as 'poet' who got the whole thing into an
As is typical for support bands, the sound was pretty
remember anything else except that they appeared fairly
'military' on stage.
Diane Wragg remembers it like this:
I went to that gig with a friend but it was John Cooper
Clark who was headlining – Joy Division was the support.
Apparently they were ‘late’ arriving so JCC opened for them.
Joy Division came on next followed by JCC again!
The theatre was the wrong venue for bands, I don’t remember
much as I had a lousy cold and spent the entire evening with
tissues stuffed up my nose – to stem the flow.
Diane doesn't remember the Buzzcocks playing.
Fletch remembers it like this:
Yes, I also went to it and still have my ticket and it's
dated 28/02/1979. I remember it being all seated as it
usually is at those type of venues. I agree with Diane'
comments that it was suited to a bad type scenario. I would
bet my pension that Buzzcocks didn't play, I would have
remembered because I was a massive fan of theirs. Joy
Division sounded very raw but as always there was something
very compelling about watching them. I also remember being
surpised that Joy Division were on. I'd bought 'An Ideal For
Living' and was a bit disapponted that they didn't play
anything off it! I didn't recognise any of the material that
night, as I guess most of it was stuff they would be
recording for Unknown Pleasures. I saw them again later that
year, supporting the Buzzcocks at Derby Kings Hall and they
were so much better!
Something else I remember about that gig, was that the
sound was poor. I don't remember the announcing themselves
as Joy Division and me and my mates were arguing about who
it was throughout the gig. We all thought it sounded like
them but I'd only heard Ideal For Living. Obviously, once
you saw Ian Curtis 'dancing' then you didn't forget it and I
seem to remember that our thoughts were confirmed when we
later saw them with the Buzzcocks!
Jonathan gives us this account:
I was there with Fletch so I can confirm his recollection
of the gig - there was no billing or prior notice of a
support act for JCC, so a real surprise, and still to this
day, one of the best gig memories I have - they played about
six songs as I recall - New Dawn Fades and Transmission
among them and played in the middle of 2 JCC halves.
Lilythepunk posted the following
information on the Guardian
web site in October 2006:
" ... I also remember seeing Joy Division at The Nottingham
Playhouse with about 50 others, half of whom walked out."
A follow up message mentions they had found the ticket to
the gig, dated 28/2/79 and the admission price was £2.50.
MC Stevie Gaye has this memory:
I was there too. My memory ........... Ian Curtis and his
high-leg Manchester Docs. Were J.C.C ' s backing singers
called The Weather Girls?
Dominic remembers it like
I was there - front row seats - Joy Division were the
unbilled support for JCC - it was a JCC concert - no other
bands - not sure of date - it was certainly very cold
They played a short set of probably 4 songs
The sound quality was appalling - really mushy in a big
I was a schoolboy and we had never heard of them
We thought JCC called them 'Geordie Vision' - sadly can't
What they played - nothing came back to mind when I heard
Unknown Pleasures - remember their look - all in black and
white and totally stationary
Anyway after the gig finished early we went to the stage
door and JCC signed all our records for us - great guy -
anyway he said we should check out Joy Division (he
corrected our amusing for a Manc mishearing) as they were
much better than the set showed - they had left early very
Saw them later that year at Leeds Futurama - awseome !
Dave Mounsey sent us this:
I went to see JCC - there was no support act announced in
advance (and definitely no Buzzcocks).
They were, as Diane Wragg said, very late arriving so JCC
came on first and did half his set. As was the custom for
support acts, most of the audience went to the bar when Joy
Division came on so they played to a nearly empty house.
This was one of the most memorable gigs I've been to. I had
heard the John Peel session so I recognised the songs but
didn't remember the name of the band. I'm pretty sure they
played Transmission and they definitely played She's Lost
Control. Ian Curtis was mesmerising during that song.
For some reason I seem to remember Peter Hook wearing short
suede boots. I don't remember the bad sound quality others
mention - it was such a great performance despite that.
Anthony Newton remembers:
Yes was there, no Buzzcocks wasn’t expecting to see them
either I recall. JD rushed onto the stage the sound I recall
was pretty poor but the abiding memory was of us being
slightly right of Peter Hook near the front and he in
particular seemed very pissed off. One of my companions
laughed in a pause between songs and hook gave us a
murderous look, gave the impression he was going to throw
his bass at us in rage. Memorable gig for musical reasons,
they were much better at later gigs.
If you have any more info, especially
if you are Lilythepunk with your ticket, please email us