I’ll admit it is difficult to describe a Gary Numan show. How do you describe a night that feels like a walk down memory lane through a shed load of hits you’ve only ever wished to hear live? See my issue?
It’s a bit like clearing out your attic and coming across all those hidden gems you’ve collected over the years and continue to sit on the floor and admire.
But in this case, I was at Portsmouth Pyramids and that familiar Numan-esque rumble was beginning. Every fan knew they were in for a night of nostalgia, and if they had their way his set list would have continued for hours more. Now, I’m not going to bother filling this piece with news on where Gary Numan is living, his age (58 FYI) or other fillers, because I’m all about the music.
Now, you might ask, what does she know? I’m 24 and I’ve listened to Gary since I was around 11/12. I wasn’t born while his longest standing fans recite stories of 1979 and the 80s, yet there I was, admiring a musician I’ve seen five or six times and grown up listening to. And damn, I felt a part of the Numanoids for sure.
As the lights dipped, the coloured strobes mirrored Numan’s dark and mysterious style before ‘Replicas’ rung out, filling the venue with a musical drug to the fans in front of him. You could already feel the atmosphere, the anticipation and the pure magic surrounding his presence. The second he appeared, iPhones filled the crowd, eager to get a shot. As any fan will know, a Numan show isn’t just any old gig. Nobody can replicate the theatrical expertise that Numan holds, I just don’t believe it is possible. There’s just no stopping him.
The entire show was dramatic and full of power. Gary Numan has such an incredible style and showmanship that allows him to take hold of the stage and maintain the crowd’s attention the entire time without an ounce of arrogance. To him, the crowd are putty in his hands, eager for every synth and every riff to come their way and never end.
From ‘Remind Me To Smile’ (a personal favourite) through to ‘ME’ and ‘We Are Glass’, Gary threw in the tracks we are all very familiar with, including ‘Me! I Disconnect From You’, ‘Cars’ (well, of course) and ‘Are Friends Electric?’. As ‘I Die You Die’ filled the room, hands were in the air and they weren’t going anywhere. Damn, they were there to stay.
As fans expected, Numan returned for an astounding encore, finishing on ‘We Are So Fragile’ and a rare outing of ‘My Shadow In Vain’ before heading off stage.
With just a couple shows left, I’m sad to see Gary Numan’s tour over and done with, but oh we just know he’ll be back before we know it.