Joy Division cancelled US / Canada tour 1980

Little is known about the venues that Joy Division intended to play on their US tour and the following list is subject to ongoing speculation and amendments.  We do now have information from Rob Gretton's notebooks as some pages have been published on the MDMA web site, but we have to bear in mind these may not have been his final notes, and may have reflected ideas and aspirations rather than concrete arrangements.  

In addition, we know that Hurrah's and Tuts were planned, and we know that New Order played at some of the same venues when they got out to the States in September. 

Nick Blakey has compiled the following itinerary by drawing together all this information and talking to people who were involved in the US gig circuit back in the day,

If you have any further information please email Nick 

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. We believe 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 dBs 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 dBs 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 dBs 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

According to Rob Gretton's notebooks Joy Division were due to travel on this day. However these notes may not have represented the final plan.


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 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

Accrding 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.

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.

Ticket front Ticket Back

Thanks to harry for the scan
Harry, we tried to contact you to get permission but your email address doesn't work

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."

30th - 31st May 1980 Joy Division travel to New York

According to Rob Gretton's notebooks Joy Division were due to travel on these days. 


31st May 9:30 Club, Washington

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 the 9:30 club which had previously been known as "The Atlantis"

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

1st June 1980 Tier 3 (aka TR3) - New York

This date has been confirmed by Hilary Jaeger who booked the club (which was sometimes called TR3)

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

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. Pop Front was the name of the festival / event to be held at Tier 3

According to contemporary music papers a Joy Division gig slated for the Machinist's Hall, Manhatten, NYC on this date was cancelled. 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.

2nd June 1980 Joy Division travel to San Francisco

According to Rob Gretton's notes


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

Rob Gretton's notes refer to a possible gig in San Francisco on one of these days.

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. 


7th June 1980 Madame Wong's, Los Angeles 

Rob Gretton's notebooks list this as a veue

Or could have been a day off if they had played Madame Wong's on 5th June

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


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

Image thanks to Steve Eastwood

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 

According to Rob Gretton's notes 


The following gigs seem to have been planned but do not appear in Rob Gretton's notes ...


Maxwell's - Hoboken, New Jersey

New Order finally played here 20th September 1980

Bogart's, Cincinnati

Bogart's has a capacity of 1200, making it a much larger venue than any of the others planned for this tour

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

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