At the risk of eliciting a chorus of jaded groans: Yes, Peter Hook & the Light, led by the bassist for the influential Joy Division, performed a rousing rendition of the post-punk swan song “Love Will Tear Us Apart” last night at the Bluebird in the first of two encores. Did you think they wouldn’t?
The surprise was that the revered hit may have been the worst song of the otherwise iconic, appropriate, set. Maybe Hook meant it literally when he introduced the song as “One that’s meant to leave you with a smile.”
Over the course of 90 minutes, Hook and his much younger sidemen may have won over even the most cynical, jaded post-punk hipster as they played the entire seminal Joy Division album “Unknown Pleasures,” bookended by works that spanned the band’s early career, including a few from their early incarnation as Warsaw.
Though Hook’s reputation as a difficult character preceded him — furthered by depictions of him as a whining 20-something in movies like “Closer” and “24-Hour Party People” and the well-documented feud with New Order frontman Bernard Sumner — his dedication to these classic songs quickly eschewed any of that characterization. Aside from a tendency to scream out in an off-kilter (yet strangely fitting) exuberance, Hook played a strong, tragic Ian Curtis.