Joy Division cancelled US / Canada tour 1980

Little was known about the venues that Joy Division intended to play on their US tour and the following list was subject to ongoing speculation and amendments for several years. We used information from various sources including Rob Gretton's notebooks and the MDMA web site fully in the knowledge these were not the final notes, and may have reflected ideas and aspirations rather than concrete arrangements. 

Then, in 2019 Peter Hook auctioned off a huge number of Joy Division, New Order, and Factory related items including an itinerary for the tour given to him after Ian's death. We were pleased to find this final version matched quite well to our speculation.

Naturally we have used this itinerary to update this page, but we have also left some listings in which do not appear on it. This is in line with our policy of including cancelled gigs in our listings (it's just a bit more complicated here because all the gigs were cancelled) and if the venue had gone as far as to advertise a gig it was clearly a realistic prospect at some point in time.   

This is the final tour itinerary and the concerts below that appear on it and therefore make up the finalised tour are marked with a

Many thanks to Omega Auctions for the image

We know that New Order played at some of the same venues when they got out to the States in September and those events are also documented below.

Nick Blakey spent a lot of time working on this and drawing together disparate information and talking to people who were involved in the US gig circuit back in the day, It is wonderful to see this finalised with the definitive tour dates.

19th May 1980 Joy Division arrive in the US 

Source: Rob Gretton's notebooks

21st - 23rd May 1980 (3 nights): Hurrah, New York 

Source: Rob Gretton's notebooks and the final tour itinerary. This was to be officially the first venue on the tour.

Support acts:

Wed 21 The Mutants
Thu 22 Crash Course in Science
Fri 23 Bongos

Support act info from the "Goings On About Town" section of the New Yorker dated 26 May 1980

Scan thanks to Farmer in the City

On one of these nights the dB's filled in for Joy Division - as this extract from their web site shows:

Hurrah Badge
Badge image + text courtesy of the dB's
web site
The dB’s almost certainly played Hurrah more than any other band. This "rock disco" on W. 62nd Street had a short life as a trendy place to see and be seen. The New York debuts of The Cure and The Psychedelic Furs were at Hurrah; The dB’s opened there for the Only Ones, the Records, and Wreckless Eric. For reasons unknown to the band, the late Ruth Polsky, who booked the club, took a shine to The dB’s and they played there frequently, even reluctantly filling in at the last minute for Joy Division, whose Ian Curtis committed suicide days before their scheduled show (not that their fans came expecting to see them; it was a rather joyless occasion, no pun intended).

Merrill Aldighieri tells us her film "LOVE AMONG THE MUTANTS" was intended to be the "opening act" for Joy Division on one of the nights:.

I made an underground science fiction comedy titled "LOVE AMONG THE MUTANTS". I showed up that night wearing a hand made paper machet eyeball. As I nervously sipped beer through a straw inserted in my iris I wondered why the club was still empty. Then around 11:00 2 club-goers arrived (Pat Ivers & Emily Armstrong) to tearfully tell us the horrible news about the death of Ian Curtis.

The staff decided to show my movie anyway. I was in a depressed and frantic stupour with serious tunnel vision under the cyclops outfit. I wore this the whole evening, trying to hide. By the time my film played I was a basket case. The club asked me to come back and become their multi-media artist in residence, and not long afterwards New Order made their debut. I videotaped that show, as well as 100 others.

New Order finally played there 26th September 1980. According to Steve who was at that New Order concert "A Certain Ratio were on the bill that night. New Order took to the stage in complete darkness with a single purple spotlight on an empty mike stand and opened with 'In A Lonely Place'. It was chilling"

Advert from NYC Village Voice Magazine

24th May 1980 Joy Division travel to Toronto


25th May 1980: The Edge nightclub, Toronto 

The Edge nightclub, at the corner of Church & Gerrard in Toronto was run by the two Garys: who brought Blondie, The Ramones, Talking Heads, New Order, The Police, The Smiths, and most of the cutting edge acts from 1977 thru the 1980's. Tickets were on sale at the time, Ian died one week to the day before he would play here.

Here's what Gary Topp (one of the two Garys) told our invetigator Paul Boyd: "I can't tell you the exact date.... but they were scheduled to play on a Sunday nite, tix were on sale. they cancelled their tour due to his death a week prior".

This puts the date firmly at 25th May, which is confirmed by the final tour itinerary, the ticket, and the advert in the Toronto Star Saturday May 18th 1980, see right..

(C) Copyright control - image used here with permission

Peter Howell writes:

"The tiny ad in the Toronto Star of Saturday, May 17, 1980 promoted the first local appearance the following weekend of a band "from England": Joy Division.
The price was $5.50 a ticket, at a now-defunct venue called The Edge at Church and Gerrard Sts. where all the hot punk and New Wave acts played. The May 25 show was to start at the very uncool time of 7:30 p.m., but it was a Sunday, after all.

All 250 tickets sold out, promoter Gary Topp recalled in an interview, and the band members would have been paid a total of $1,000 (US) for their labours. But hours after the Star ad appeared, the band's frontman Ian Curtis was dead.

Toronto would have been the second stop on the band's first North American tour. For promoter Topp, who was working in a company called The Garys, it was the second major show in just over a year scuppered by sudden death.

The Garys had also booked Sid Vicious to perform, shortly before the ex-Sex Pistols bassist was found dead from a heroin overdose. But everybody knew Vicious was on the way down, as in six feet under. Joy Division was on the way up, and already had mystique, Topp said.

"Musically they were unique for the times, rooted in punk with a tortured Jim Morrison-ish style. They were a breath of fresh air, experimental, problematic. We liked that."

(C) Peter Howell http://www.thestar.com/article/254562
Reporduced here with permission

26th May 1980: Bookies, Detroit

According to Rob Gretton's notes at the time there was a possibility this gig would be cancelled - in which case Joy Division would play Madison on the 28th May. This is clearly what happened as this was a day off on the final tour itinerary.

Copyright Control
Used with permission

Toronto Star Saturday May 18th 1980
Image courtesy of
The Toronto Star


27th May 1980: Tuts, W. Belmont, Chicago

The promoter, or rather one of the co-promotors, Wax Trax, was a Chicago record shop that specialised in Factory records imports. They even had a specially made Joy Division neon sign behind the counter. They had tickets printed in a variety of colours.

Support band ‘Stations’ got a call three days before the gig: the whole tour was cancelled because Ian Curtis had committed suicide. Info
Ticket front Ticket Back

Thanks to Nick Blakey for his tireless research which has helped populate this page


Thanks to Steve for the green ticket scans

28th May 1980: Merlyn's Madison, Wisconsin

At one stage this date was a contingency if Detroit (26th May) was cancelled. However one Merlyn's regular remembers the gig being cancelled on this forum. Merlyn's was the pre-eminent punk club of the time and was made up to look like a cave with brown stucco, stalactites hanging from the ceiling.

29th May 1980: Duffy's, Minneapolis

With Husker Du and Fine Art - according to Rob Gretton's notes and the venue's flyer respectively

Duffy's image Creative Commons Licence

There were multiple venues named "Duffy's at the time. This one was at 26th & 26th in South Minneapolis; both buildings pictured were razed in the early 1990s.

Tabletop schedule tent card courtesy Daniel Grobani and reproduced here with permission

While the flyer notes Fine Art as the opener, Kim Moline an employee of Duffy's at the time, says that Husker Du were also scheduled to play:

"They were suppose to play at Duffy's 29 May, 1980 with Husker Du ... tour dates were cancelled due to Ian Curtis's suicide on the 18th of May. Curtis, suffered from epilepsy and depression, committed suicide on the eve of Joy Division's first North American tour, resulting in the band's dissolution and the subsequent formation of New Order. Duffy's was suppose to be the 8th date on the tour."

Thanks to Mark Dignam and Duffy's Rock & Roll Alternative on Facebook

30th - 31st May 1980: Days off including travel 

30th or 31st May 1980: The Underground, Boston

With Mission Of Burma 
New Order finally played here 30th September 1980.

Rob Gretton's notes indicate the possibility of a Joy Division gig in Boston on May 30-31, 1980 and local memories suggest that it was to be The Underground with Mission of Burma supporting, but listings taken from local paper The Boston Phoenix and no further mention in Rob's notes show that the gig was never finalised.

Incidentally: Joy Division's tour mates OMD played The Underground on June 1st 1980

Thanks to Mike Miliard of The Boston Phoenix newspaper for supplying us with information about Underground gigs at that time

31st May 1980: 9:30 Club, Washington DC

Image: John McWilliams [Public domain]
via Wikimedia Commons 1990

According to 'Dance Of Days: Two decades of Punk in the Nation's Capital' by Mark Andersen & Mark Jenkins (pages 59/60) Joy Division were supposed to inaugurate 9:30 Club which had previously been known as "The Atlantis". However this date had been dropped by the time the final tour itinerary was published.

Instead 9:30 Club opened with New York jazz combo the Lounge Lizards, supported by Tiny Desk Unit on 31st May.

1st June 1980: Pop Front  / Machinist's Hall,  New York  (cancelled, Pop Front moved the venue to Tier 3 see below)  

According to contemporary music papers a Joy Division gig slated for the Machinist's Hall, NYC on this date was cancelled, despite being confirmed by the final tour itinerary. It appears that Non-profit NY promoters "Pop Front" had already run a month of Sunday night gigs there when an attack by vandals forced the owners to cancel all upcoming dates so the concert was moved to Tier 3.

1st June 1980: Pop Front / Tier 3 (aka TR3), New York  

This date confirmed as "Pop Front", the promoter, by the final tour itinerary and by Hilary Jaeger who booked Tier 3 (aka TR3).

Peter Hook's "Unknown Pleasures ..." book page 275 features a photo of a schedule (but unlikely to be the final version) showing Pop Front, New York.

New Order finally played here 27th September 1980 with A Certain Ratio.

2nd June 1980: Joy Division fly to San Francisco

3rd - 4th June 1980: Days off  

3rd and 4th June 1980: American Indian Centre, San Francisco

Rob Gretton's notes refer to a possible gig in San Francisco on one of these days. However these had been changed to a single gig on 7th June by the time the final itinerary was published and Joy Division were to have two days off.

Jim Manniello in SF stated he clearly remembers the gig was to have been at the American Indian Center, although he was unclear on the date.

Jello Biafra states this was to be two dates - (most likely 3rd and 4th June) with Dead Kennedys opening one show and The Mutants opening the other.

Peter Hook's "Unknown Pleasures ..." book page 275 features a photo of a schedule (but unlikely to be the final version) showing the dates as 6th and 7th June


5th June 1980: Joy Division travel to LA 

According to Rob Gretton's notes they were either to travel to LA - or play Madame Wong's on this date. As Madame Wong's is planned for the 7th June we assume this was to be a travel day. 

6th June 1980: Day off  

Thanks to Philip Kret for the scan

7th June 1980: American Indian Centre, San Francisco 

The date had taken some firming up - see 3rd 4th June listing above and this was the final agreed date on the itinerary.

7th June 1980: Madame Wong's, Los Angeles

Rob Gretton's notebooks list this as a venue but it had been dropped by the time the final itinerary was published.

Image (C) copyright Theresa K / Punk truns30.com
and reproduced here with permission

8th June 1980 Flipper's Roller Boogie Palace, Los Angeles

Peter Hook's "Unknown Pleasures ..." book page 275 features a photo of a schedule (but unlikely to be the final version) showing this unlikely venue - and it's confirmed by the final tour schedule.

Circa 1980 image courtesy Water and Power Associates


09h June 1980: Day off 

9th June 1980: The Starwood, Northwest corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Crescent Heights Ave , Los Angeles

Image thanks to Steve Eastwood

Clearly a solid enough booking to advertise the gig, see right, this concert had been dropped by the time the final itinerary was published.

No tickets exist as people had to return them to get refunds
B People were to open for Joy Division. Later, in 1981, they
opened for New Order at Perkins Palace in Pasadena, California.
For the poster for that event click here.

The Starwood closed in 1982 see Starwood for details


10th June 1980: Return to the UK 


Unknown dates:

The following gigs also seem to have been planned for unspecified dates at some point but do not appear in Rob Gretton's notes or the final tour itinerary:


Robson Square Theatre, Vancouver

Grant McDonagh, from ZULU RECORDS tells us: "I worked at an indie record store at that time (Quintessence Records). I recall being in it's back room and me and fellow staff members discussing that we heard Joy Division were going to be coming to town soon, and were going to be playing the Robson Square Theatre. This was an approx. 200 seat venue on the bottom floor of a Provincial government set of buildings, near the centre of downtown Vancouver (the buildings are still there).

I recall seeing Pere Ubu play at the Robson Square Theatre in the summer of 1979, a good gig!

The theatre really wasn't a cutting-edge venue, more like a lecture hall that wasn't used for concerts too often. Joy Division would have been the only other contemporary band booked there since the Pere Ubu gig a few months earlier.

The concert promoter was Perryscope Concerts, they did most of the up and coming touring gigs in Vancouver at the time.

Then one day I went to work, and a co-worker told me he heard that Joy Division's singer had committed suicide a day or two earlier. We talked about it of course, and I remember us talking about how their Vancouver promoter, Perryscope, had just called just a few days earlier, saying they'd be dropping tickets to sell off in a few days.

But that was that."

North Park Lions Club Hall, San Diego

Joy Division was booked to play in San Diego by Renee Edgington of Shark Productions, probably at the North Park Lions Club Hall. In the movie, Control, you can see San Diego in the itinerary. Would have had to have been at the time of the LA gigs.

Image thanks to Pat Fear