New Order paid the Santa Barbara Bowl a visit last Tuesday night. Kicking off the set with “Singularity” off its recent 2015 album, Music Complete, the band showcased its signature, classic ’80s sound that hit close to home for many longtime listeners. Taking a step back in time with 1981 single “Ceremony,” the undeniable aura of Joy Division emanated from the stage, satisfyingly nostalgic for those in the audience who’ve been with New Order since the beginning. Other songs included 2001 single “Crystal,” undoubtedly the tune that reinvigorated the group with a heavy guitar influence after their five-year hiatus in the mid-1990s, and recent hit “Restless,” also off of Music Complete.
While New Order continues to make new music, its sound has not evolved much, and the concert as a whole felt more like a class of ’85 high school reunion full of youthful reclamation. Yes, the accompanying light show was exhilarating, and the band members have maintained their original, electric energy, but the show seemed exclusive to diehard New Order fans who know the lyrics to the loosely sung songs by heart, leaving other music lovers and general concertgoers wanting more.