The Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan became The Hacienda last night during New Order and Johnny Marr's capacity show.
Well, almost. No one will ever properly recreate the energy and mojo of that famous Manchester, England club -- probably because of the fervor its resident bands caused back then, and probably because Ecstasy was better back then (or so I hear). And the very Gen X crowd at the Cosmo showed their age moreso than the members of New Order themselves, who pounded out one classic post-punk dance anthem after another, singer/guitarist Bernard Sumner even dancing around (if awkwardly) while singing (maybe mumbling) 1993 single "World" (The Price of Love)" and 1986's synth-pop chestnut "Bizarre Love Triangle."
And yet, the outdoor vibe of the Boulevard Pool and the surrounding Strip icons rarely disappoints, and when you mixed that with the band's able instrumentation and the infectious joy of its songs, it made for a pretty special evening -- though, frankly, the songs tipped it. The nostalgia-stoking "Regret" inspired a singalong; the extra loop and hammering kickdrum ramped up the boogie factor during "True Faith"; and I don't think I've ever felt the euphoria of set-closer "Temptation" like I did last night. And what a capper: A three-song, exclusively Joy Division encore, including an epic "Transmission."
New Order's decades-spanning catalog meant no classic was missed. In fact, the only thing missing was bassist Peter Hook -- and, frankly speaking, his replacement Tom Chapman ain't bad. He occasionally underplayed the elasticity of those bottom-end melodies, or seemed off on the bass tone -- or, conversely, nailed his lines as such that if you had closed your eyes, you might have thought Hooky was up there. He'll do until Sumner and Hook sort their drama out.
Fellow Mancunian Johnny Marr, looking as dapper as ever, opened with an hourlong set that focused on his worthwhile new solo album, but the cheers mostly came during his Smiths covers ("There is a Light That Never Goes Out," "How Soon is Now," the latter being less epic but better technically executed than the version his former bandmate Morrissey has been playing), a random go at "I Fought the Law" (Marr and his bandmates may be the best-dressed group to ever play that song), and a version of "Getting Away With It," which he crafted with Sumner as Electronic -- and that was a wasted chance at a mini-reunion moment. Maybe they'll save that for Coachella, or maybe those halcyon Manchester days are long over.
Meanwhile, at the Beauty Bar...
Damn, what is this, 2010? Where have all these people been hiding? Who’s that guy in the green t-shirt fucking destroying the nonexistent dance floor? Where’d those pogs come from? We asked all of these questions last night during Purity Ring’s pre-midnight set on the East Fremont bar's outdoor stage. We haven’t seen a crowd that large and excited downtown in a while. They danced to the Canadian duo’s smooth, ultra-dancy R&B grooves, intermittently illuminated beneath glowing cocoons, blinking and changing color, looming over the audience on main stage-designed frames. Extremely cool set.