Gary Numan @ o2 Institute, 11th October 2017

Gary Numan @ o2 Institute, 11th October 2017Gary Numan @ o2 Institute, 11th October 2017Gary Numan @ o2 Institute, 11th October 2017Gary Numan @ o2 Institute, 11th October 2017Gary Numan @ o2 Institute, 11th October 2017Gary Numan @ o2 Institute, 11th October 2017Gary Numan @ o2 Institute, 11th October 2017Gary Numan @ o2 Institute, 11th October 2017Gary Numan @ o2 Institute, 11th October 2017Gary Numan @ o2 Institute, 11th October 2017

Promoting his recently released album, Savage (Songs from a broken World), Gary Numan called into the Institute as part of his UK Tour. There is some delay actually getting into the venue and the huge queue were getting slightly impatient as nothing was happening way beyond the clock striking seven o’clock, but slowly security staff began to shuffle and get people through the doors.

Support for this tour is Jayce Lewis, who is clearly influenced by Numan, and he delivers a short set of industrial, drum heavy songs. Hailing from Wales I believe his initial interest is in percussion but he does make a very good vocalist and front-man. He looks a cross between Numan and Till Lindemann from Rammstein. His forthcoming album, Millions, warrants further investigation. It has to be said that the quality of support acts Numan has are always excellent, and it follows that he ensures his fans are looked after, for example, he was one of the first artists to offer the meet and greet packages and the front row of the balcony is full of those who’ve taken this offer up, proudly wearing their laminates, glinting in the lights for the rest of us in the stalls to see.

The fan involvement went even further with the recent Pledge campaign for the Savage album which rather than the odd update, there were weekly, sometime daily updates, video, samples you name it so those who had pledged to buy the album felt very much part of the process of writing and recording. Full credit to him.

I must admit I came to the Numan party late, some five years ago, but since that epiphany, I have seen him once every tour, and he never fails to deliver. The stage show is always entertaining, the backing musicians have military precision, and Numan is mesmerising. He appears in a grey smock, similar to the outfit from the album cover, his shock of black hair in contrast, moving almost pulsing in time to the beats, and oh what beats. Between heavy synth and the drums it is easy to see why the likes of Nine Inch Nails cite Numan as an influence. It really does pulsate your internal organs (in a good way).

The set is made up of his whole back catalogue, now approaching some forty years, but there are no joins or awkward switches and anyone who didn’t know his songs would not be able to date them.

Reviews usually give set spoilers, hands up I’ve been guilty in the past, but given he’s only a short way in this tour I’ll resist, but I must mention standout tracks for me, the particularly heavier moments of ‘Here in the Black’ and ‘Love Hurt Bleed’ which really are amongst the best songs he’s done. ‘My name is Ruin’, the lead single from the new album is also in the same lovely vein, however, unlike the short run of July dates where he brought his daughter on stage to sing backing vocals, tonight it’s pre-recorded and her image appears on the back stage panels. The song is no less stunning.

The ninety minute set is closed by a two song encore, and the last song is the now familiar ‘Are friends electric’, sung by 1500 backing vocalists. So Gary Numan has produced yet another superb album, only this time he has involved his fans every step of the way from ideas, through lyrics to demo’s and the recording to the final track.

He cares about his fans. He once said he wanted to be famous and a pop star, and he is a text book example of how to be one, how to get things right. Then of course there is the live spectacle, promoting the album and again he’s got it spot on. There was only one fault tonight, and that was the set wasn’t long enough, but if he’d played for another hour I’d be saying the same thing. Can you have too much of a good thing? I’m not sure but I’m already looking forward to the next time I see him live. I recently was chatting to a friend of mine about him; they love the albums but have never seen him live. They truly are missing out.

I urge you to go and see him live. It could be one of the best gigs you’ll see.


Reviewer: Glenn Raybone

Photographer: Ian Dunn

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