We had the great pleasure to be invited to play Slottsjfell festival on Saturday 21st July. Tonsberg is in the ancient heartland of Norway, indeed the festival site itself is inside a huge natural Viking fortress that was besieged in the Norwegian civil wars more than 800 years ago. The surrounding landscape has many large burial mounds, and from one was unearthed a well preserved Viking long boat, now in the museum in Oslo, a brilliant lifesize replica of which was moored on the jetty outside the Quality Hotel.
Friday 13th July we were at the excellent Exit Festival in Novi Sad, Serbia. The festival takes place in an ancient fortress high up on the banks overlooking the Danube river. The present remains date back to the Habsburg empire but the site has been in constant use since the Paleolithic.
The roots of the festival lie in the youthful student politics of peace and dissent against the then authoritarian government of Serbia. It's not much more than 15 years since Nato bombing destroyed the ancient bridges across the Danube to the fort in an effort to stop the war in Kosovo. Indeed our driver served as a young army conscript radar operator. But the days of Milošević are gone. The young people of Serbia, like everyone else around the world, are now free to party and enjoy their summer festival. I'm sure their stone age ancestors would understand.
For us it's been a great experience playing to a new audience in eastern europe. We have been rewarded by rapturous receptions and we have done our best to repay that kindness by striving to deliver the best performances we can. It's a win win situation. If you were there you will know all about it, if not what are you waiting for?
The photo shows the stage invasion by members of Hercules and Love Affair and The Duke Spirit who clearly were feeling the love.
After a wild night in Scotland, Milan on Saturday 7th July was a more relaxed and sophisticated affair. We played before the Cure who were playing a 3 hour set that night. Our set was well received, and certainly the Vikings seemed to enjoy themselves. Or was that the hospitality? Anyway the night really belonged to the Cure, but we enjoyed ourselves too.
This week has been one of our busiest. We dashed from Poland to Scotland, but the gear never could, so we deployed our B setup for the first time on Friday 6th July. We were watching the weather forecasts and flood warnings expecting the worst, but we were lucky enough to get through the whole evening without any rain.
When we arrived at King Tut's tent it was rammed and the crowd mad for it. Our best audience of the UK tour was in Glasgow. There seems to be some primitive bond between New Order and that Scottish audience, and the bond was strong in that tent. I could hear the whole 10,000 strong crowd singing "Love Will Tear Us Apart" 5 minutes after we had left the stage and were racing for the festival exit before the vehicle curfew kicked in.
On Wednesday 4th July we played our Polish debut concert at the Open'er Festival near Gdansk. The weather had not been looking too good all day. I'd been staring out of my hotel window, through the mist across the Baltic Sea hoping for some sunshine.
The festival was housed on an old disused Eastern Block airfield littered with bunkers and hangers being reused as venues and dressing rooms. The rain had stopped by the time we got to the site, and as we hit the stage at midnight, the clouds cleared, and a full moon shone on the huge crowd.
The reception we received was outstanding, the festival staff friendly and efficient, and the sushi delicious. Please ask us back.
It was New Order's first visit to Croatia, and the reception we got from the people of Zagreb and the InMusic festival couldn't have been better. After suffering the cold and wet of this years western european summer it was great to be in the sweltering east of europe. Another great concert to a fantastic crowd made for a most enjoyable evening.
Our trip to Germany continued with a mad weekend dash right across Germany, from Tuttlingen in Baden-Württemberg in the south to Scheeßel near Hamburg in the north.
Saturday night at Southside ws a beautiful summer evening and the New Order show was another winner.
Sunday night at Hurricane was a different matter. The rain poured down all day. The rain drifted onto the stage. The gear was wrapped in clingfilm and the band pressed on to deliver the best show they could. Respect goes out to the crowd who braved the elements to see the band. We will be back to repay that support.