Joy Division: First U.S. Tour (1980)
On the surface, at least, things were looking good for Manchester post-punk band Joy Division in the spring of 1980. Their acclaimed first album, 1979's Unknown Pleasures, had effectively put Tony Wilson's Factory Records label on the map, and resulted in a major tour of the U.K. opening for the Buzzcocks. Now, with their second album, Closer, newly in the can, the band was preparing to embark on their first tour of North America, with dates scheduled at such venues as New York's Hurrah, Tuts in Chicago, Duffy's in Minneapolis (with a young local band called Hüsker Dü opening) and the Starwood in Los Angeles.
But all was not so well with Ian Curtis, Joy Division's lead singer. Beset by relationship issues, stress over the band's touring commitments and epileptic fits that seemed to be getting increasingly worse, Curtis hanged himself in the early hours of May 18th, 1980, just a few days before the band was due to leave for America. The surviving members of the band, reconstituted as New Order, would arrive on U.S. shores later in the year; but Curtis' suicide deprived American audiences of ever experiencing the live power of Joy Division in person.