Gary Numan Newcastle City Hall 1979 and 1980

Gary Numan. Newcastle City Hall 21st September 1979, and 29th September 1980
gary79tix It was May 1979 and Gary Numan and his band Tubeway Army seemed to come out of nowhere. I remember seeing this strange, scary guy singing “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” on Top of the Pops, and being fascinated by both his image and his music. Numan had, actually, already released an album and a few 45s, before he hit No 1 in the UK singles chart with “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” and No 1 in the lp chart with “Replicas”. “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?”, was very different from anything else around at the time, and a million miles away from the fast punk music that most bands of the time were producing, and which had influenced Gary Numan to start out in the business. Gary1979progWriting for Smash Hits in 1979, Cliff White described the song as “a dark, threatening wall of synthesized sound” which “throbbed ominously behind a gloomy song of paranoia and loneliness”. Come September 1979, Gary Numan released his third album “The Pleasure Principle”, dropped the Tubeway Army moniker, and went out on his first national tour, calling at major concert venues up and down the country. The publicity prior to the tour promised a spectacle to match the scifi imagery we had all seen on TV. I bought tickets for Marie, me, Marie’s younger sister and niece to see the concert, which sold out very quickly. We had seats close to the front and were blown away by the concert. The show lived up to all our expectations with great use of stark white lighting, rising towers, and Gary our robotic hero centre-stage making quirky, jerky movements. My favourite songs were “Electric”, “Cars” and “Me! I Disconnect From You”. Gary had a cute little car (like a small dodgem car) which he drove around the stage as he sang “Cars”. Support came from OMD who had recently formed. This was before “Enola Gay”; I’d heard the single “Electricity” (which was played a lot at Middlesbrough Rock Garden at the time) and remember staying out of the bar and watching them just to hear that song. gary1980tixSetlist: Airlane; Me! I Disconnect From You; Cars; M.E.; You Are in My Vision; Something’s in the House; Random; Everyday I Die; Conversation; We Are So Fragile; Bombers; Remember I Was Vapour; On Broadway (The Drifters cover); The Dream Police; Films; Metal; Down in the Park. Encore: My Shadow in Vain; Are ‘Friends’ Electric?; Tracks.
Almost exactly a year later and Gary Numan was back on tour again. We saw him again at Newcastle City Hall, sitting about half way back in the hall. Gary had just released the “Telekon” album and the tour was thus called, of course, the “Teletour”. GaryTeletourprogThe hit singles “We Are Glass” (another great song) and “I Die: You Die” were released that year. The show was quite similar to the 1979 tour, with another lavish stage set, and Gary wearing his trademark black leather boilersuit with interlocking red belts. Support came from Nash the Slash 🙂 , a crazy punk violinist whose entire face was covered in surgical bandages, and wore sunglasses, a white suit and a white top hat! Setlist: This Wreckage; Remind Me to Smile; Complex; Telekon; Me! I Disconnect From You; Cars; Conversation; Airlane; M.E.; Everyday I Die; Remember I Was Vapour; Stories; Are ‘Friends’ Electric?; The Joy Circuit; I Die: You Die; I Dream of Wires; Down in the Park; Tracks; We Are Glass. The next time I saw Gary Numan was at his farewell (! 🙂 ) concert at Wembley Arena in 1981. I’ll write about that event tomorrow.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mitch on December 30, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    A great live performer.

    I was at both of these shows and have seen Numan a number of times since – including only a few weeks ago at Newcastle Academy when he was promoting his excellent new album Splinter.

    He lost his way a bit during the late 80’s and 90’s but his last few albums are all worth checking out.

    In recent years he has re-visited his glory days by performing an entire album as part of the show. He played the Telekon album in full in 2006, Replicas 2008 and The Pleasure Principle 2009 – calling in at Newcastle Academy on each occasion.


    • Posted by vintagerock on December 30, 2013 at 4:10 pm

      Thanks Mitch I haven’t seen him for some years, the last time was 1984. I must make the effort to see him again. Cheeers Peter


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