Joy Division cancelled US / Canada tour 1980
Little was known about the venues that Joy Division intended
to play on their US tour and the following list was subject to
ongoing speculation and amendments for several years. We
used information from various sources including Rob
Gretton's notebooks and the MDMA
web site fully in the knowledge
these were not the final notes, and may have reflected ideas
and aspirations rather than concrete arrangements.
Then, in 2019 Peter Hook auctioned
off a huge number of Joy Division, New Order, and
Factory related items including an itinerary for the tour
given to him after Ian's death. We were pleased to find this
final version matched quite well to our speculation.
Naturally we have used this itinerary
to update this page, but we have also left some listings in
which do not appear on it. This is in line with our policy
of including cancelled gigs in our listings (it's just a bit
more complicated here because all the gigs were cancelled)
and if the venue had gone as far as to advertise a gig it
was clearly a realistic prospect at some point in
This is the final tour itinerary and the concerts below that appear on it and therefore make up the finalised tour are marked with a
Many thanks to Omega Auctions for the image
We know that New Order played at some
of the same venues when they got out to the States in
September and those events are also documented below.
Nick Blakey spent a lot of time working on this and drawing together disparate information and talking to people who were involved in the US gig circuit back in the day, It is wonderful to see this finalised with the definitive tour dates.
19th May 1980 Joy Division arrive in the US
Source: Rob Gretton's notebooks
Source: Rob Gretton's notebooks and the final tour itinerary. This was to be officially the first venue on the tour.
Wed 21 The Mutants
Support act info from the "Goings On About Town" section of the New Yorker dated 26 May 1980
On one of these nights the dB's filled in for Joy Division - as this extract from their web site shows:
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:.
24th May 1980 Joy Division travel to 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 final tour itinerary, the ticket, and the advert in the Toronto Star Saturday May 18th 1980, see right..
"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
According 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. This is clearly what happened as this was a day off on the final tour itinerary.
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.
Thanks to Steve for the green ticket scans
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
With Husker Du and Fine Art - according to Rob Gretton's
notes and the venue's flyer respectively
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: Days off including travel
With Mission Of Burma
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
Image: John McWilliams [Public domain]
via Wikimedia Commons 1990
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 9:30 Club
which had previously been known as "The Atlantis". However
this date had been dropped by the time the final tour
itinerary was published.
1st June 1980: Pop Front / Machinist's Hall, New York (cancelled, Pop Front moved the venue to Tier 3 see below)
According to contemporary music papers a Joy Division gig slated for the Machinist's Hall, NYC on this date was cancelled, despite being confirmed by the final tour itinerary. 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.
This date confirmed as "Pop Front", the promoter, by the
final tour itinerary and by Hilary Jaeger who booked Tier 3
2nd June 1980: Joy Division fly to San Francisco
3rd - 4th June 1980: Days off
Rob Gretton's notes refer to a possible
gig in San Francisco on one of these days. However these had
been changed to a single gig on 7th June by the time the
final itinerary was published and Joy Division were to have
two days off.
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.
6th June 1980: Day off
Thanks to Philip Kret for the scan
The date had taken some firming up -
see 3rd 4th June listing above and this was the final agreed
date on the itinerary.
Rob Gretton's notebooks list this
as a venue but it had been dropped by the time the final
itinerary was published.
copyright Theresa K / Punk truns30.com
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 - and it's confirmed by the final tour schedule.
Circa 1980 image courtesy Water and Power Associates
09h June 1980: Day off
9th June 1980: The Starwood, Northwest corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Crescent Heights Ave , Los Angeles
Image thanks to Steve Eastwood
Clearly a solid enough booking to advertise the gig, see right, this concert had been dropped by the time the final itinerary was published.
No tickets exist as people had to return them to get refunds
The Starwood closed in 1982 see Starwood for details
10th June 1980: Return to the UK
The following gigs also seem to have
been planned for unspecified dates at some point but do not
appear in Rob Gretton's notes or the final tour itinerary:
Grant McDonagh, from ZULU RECORDS tells us: "I worked at an
indie record store at that time (Quintessence Records). I
recall being in it's back room and me and fellow staff members
discussing that we heard Joy Division were going to be coming
to town soon, and were going to be playing the Robson Square
Theatre. This was an approx. 200 seat venue on the bottom
floor of a Provincial government set of buildings, near the
centre of downtown Vancouver (the buildings are still there).
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.