Archive for the ‘Gary Numan’ Category

Gary Numan Newcastle City Hall 11 May 2022

nu tixThis was a return to experiencing Gary Numan in a couple of ways. The last time I was at a Gary Numan concert was in 1981 at Wembley Empire pool (now Wembley Arena) for his farewell concert. This was a fantastic end to a short career which started with his massive initial breakthrough hit “Are Friends Electric?” Numan was something completely new and different set against the background of punk and new wave in the late 1970s. I was lucky enough to see his first tour at Newcastle City Hall, followed by the “cars” tour at the same venue. Then he decided to retire and I made the pilgrimage to Wembley for his final show. Happy happy memories.

numan 6The second return to experiencing Gary Numan was for my sister-in-law Elaine. My late wife and I took Elaine as a youngster, to see Numan on that wonderful first tour where a robotic Gary mesmerised us with his new blend of electronica, rock and pop music. Flanked by robot figures and a wonderful light show with music unlike anything we had heard before it was a great introduction to the world of Gary Numan. Elaine, then a teenage girl, just loved it. So this was her first outing to see Gary Numan since that experience of his initial tour.

numan 4Now I had seen that Gary had been touring again for some years now and kept meaning to go along and see him. His return to the City Hall, where we saw those early shows, was just too much to resist. And Elaine was looking forward to see what the new Gary would be like. I also was intrigued to experience Gary Numan again. So, lots of memories of great shows from a long time ago. Time, the lives of myself and Elaine, and Gary, have moved on. What would the show be like?

numan 7First up was support act French band Divine Shade. They were an electronic/heavy bass band clearly influenced by Gary Numan. Think a heavy Gary Numan/dark Depeche Mode/LOUD. They were really loud and we were down the front next to the speakers. We could feel the vibration running through us; just like old times and the first time I saw Black Sabbath when Geezer Butler’s bass hit me in my stomach. Excellent! A great start to the show. They clearly enjoyed it also. From their Facebook page: “Thank you Newcastle ! It was great ! Cool fact from the nice security gard, our little dressing room was the Beatles favorite one.” Now there is a fact I didn’t know!

numan 3I wasn’t sure what to expect from Gary Numan this time around. To say he didn’t disappoint would be an understatement. He was fantastic from the very start, keeping the pace up right until the end. The set was a mixture of old and new. I was delighted that the second song was my old favourite “Me! I Disconnect from You” the lyrics of which now take on a new meaning in light of the fact that Gary has publicly mentioned his shyness. It brought back memories of that Wembley show over 40 years ago when I remember it as a standout song. Gary is very much the front man now, revealing more of himself to us, much darker, dressed all in black with red stripes running down his face. His music is louder, rockier and darker. He is flanked by a bass player and a guitarist each with shaven heads, wearing black skirts and large black boots. Quite menacing, dark and Gothic.

numan 1I hadn’t realised just how much Gary Numan’s music had changed over the years. I was clearly out of touch. He has stripped things down to the basics and produced a much darker, heavier sound. In front of us was a new, louder, more intense front man than the young boy Elaine and I experienced all those years ago. The old songs were given a much heavier treatment and included some of my favourites such as “Down in the Park”, “Cars” and closer “I Die, You Die”. Throughout the show Gary stood on stage sometimes pulling back on the mic stand, going down on his knees and then throwing his arms up in the air. Very much the show man. The crowd loved it and gave him one of the warmest receptions I have seen for a long time. Fabulous.

He returned for two encores, the last of which was “Are Friends Electric?” Elaine, Jackie my carer and I really enjoyed it. Elaine said it was a better show than the first time and I didn’t disagree.

Setlist: Intruder; Me! I Disconnect From You; Halo; The Gift; Metal; Ghost Nation; Is This World Not Enough; Films; Pure; Resurrection; Down in the Park; And It Breaks Me Again; Dead Sun Rising; Cars; My Name Is Ruin; Love Hurt Bleed; The Chosen; I Die: You Die;

Encore: Remind Me to Smile; Are ‘Friends’ Electric?

Gary Numan Newcastle City Hall 1983, Warriors Tour, and 1984, Berserker tour.

Gary Numan Newcastle City Hall 27th September 1983, Warriors Tour, and
4th December 1984, Berserker tour.garytix Gary Numan’s retirement from live performance didn’t last and in 1983 he was back on tour, playing again at the City Hall to promote the Warriors album. This saw a departure from his previous style, with the involvement of several other notable musicians, including Bill Nelson, and other influences, including jazz. The album was not as successful as his previous releases, and is recognised as the beginning of a decline, including by Numan himself: “I thought that by getting in some of the best players and singers around I could make the albums more ‘musical,’…..What I actually did was progressively bury the very style that my fans had enjoyed….. I swamped my own performances in huge layers of backing vocals. ….with Warriors I was lighting the fires of what came close to being my funeral…”. The show was still good, and included all ofmthe usual favourites (and a long set), but I must admit that I was beginning to lose faith a little. Support came from Tik and Tok.
garyprogsSetlist 1983: Sister Surprise; Warriors; Remind Me to Smile; Metal; This Prison Moon; Down in the Park; Films; She’s Got Claws; Love Needs No Disguise; I Die: You Die; Love Is Like Clock Law; The Iceman Comes; The Rhythm of the Evening; This Is My House; I Am Render; War Songs; My Centurion; The Tick Tock Man; We Take Mystery (To Bed);Cars; Are ‘Friends’ Electric?; Tracks; We Are Glass
I saw Gary Numan once more, when he returned to the City Hall in 1984 to promote the Berserker album. The Berserker Tour featured a “high-tech Roman temple” stage set to complement Numan’s white leather jacket/white make-up/blue-hair look. A double-album, White Noise, was recorded live at the Hammersmith Odeon show in December 1984.  Support was from Hohokam, who were on Numan’s own label.
Setlist 1984:Berserker; Metal; Me! I Disconnect From You; Remind Me to Smile; Sister Surprise; Music for Chameleons; The Iceman Comes; Cold Warning; Down in the Park; This Prison Moon; I Die: You Die; My Dying Machine; Cars; We Take Mystery (To Bed); We Are Glass; This Is New Love; My Shadow in Vain; Are ‘Friends’ Electric?

Gary Numan Farewell concert Wembley Arena 27th April 1981

Gary Numan Farewell concert. Wembley Arena 27th April 1981.
garytix81 It was 1981, and after a short two year career, and massive success, Gary Numan took us all by surprise by announcing his retirement from live performance. A massive farewell concert was scheduled to take place at Wembley Arena in April. I was due to speak at a conference in London around the same time; in fact Gary’s farewell concert was set to take place the night before the conference was due to begin. So I extended my stay, booked a room in a small B&B in Wembley, and bought a ticket for the show. The concert was initially scheduled for one night, but extended to three to satisfy the demand from fans to see Gary Numan one more time. The show was a big spectacular event, with the lavish sort of stage show that I had come to expect from Gary Numan. The stage set took two months to construct and cost Numan around £150,000. Wembley Arena was full of Numanoid lookalikes who gave him a great send-off. GaryNumanWembley1981Fans were crying and throwing red roses and teddy bears on stage for Gary. The concert featured all the hits and well known songs, and was an emotional event for everyone present. Support came from Nash the Slash and Shock, a music/mime/dance/pop group featuring Tim Dry, Barbie Wilde , Robert Pereno, LA Richards, Sean Crawford and Carole Caplin. Shock were very much part of the new romantic scene, performing at The Haçienda and The Blitz Club. When they broke up Tim and Sean became the double act Tik and Tok and Carole famously went on to become a lifestyle advisor to Cherie Blair.
Setlist: This Wreckage; Remind Me to Smile; Moral; Me! I Disconnect From You; Conversation; The Aircrash Bureau; Airlane; M.E.; Everyday I Die; Films; Remember I Was Vapour; Trois Gymnopédies (First Movement); She’s Got Claws; Cars; I Dream of Wires; I’m an Agent; The Joy Circuit; I Die: You Die; Cry the Clock Said; Tracks; Down in the Park; My Shadow in Vain; Please Push No More; Are ‘Friends’ Electric?; We Are Glass.
At the end of the show Numan said “this has been the greatest two years I’ve ever had, thank you”, and then he was gone. But, like all of the best retirements 🙂 it didn’t last for long, and a couple of years later he was touring again.

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.